Yorkshire's Adil Rashid is backed by Moeen Ali to shine in the Bangladesh heat for England
England began their tour of Bangladesh with a four-wicket victory in Fatullah, where Moeen excelled with the bat as his 70 in a 139-run partnership with Jos Buttler helped the tourists over the line.
But it is with the ball that he and Yorkshire’s Rashid are expected to make more of an impact against the Tigers in three ODIs, the first of which is in Dhaka tomorrow, and two Tests on pitches that are usually conducive to spin.
Moeen bowled tidily, if unspectacularly, although Rashid seemed to be targeted and sent down plenty of loose deliveries as he finished with 1-76 from his 10 overs in sweltering temperatures and overpowering humidity.
Moeen, though, was glad for the workout and believes his and Rashid’s experience of playing in the United Arab Emirates last winter, where they helped England win the ODI series against Pakistan, will prove beneficial.
He said: “I’ve played in Bangladesh about four or five times now and yesterday was a bit of a reminder that if you get a little bit full and above the eyeline then they’re just going to hit you no matter what.
“It’s different bowling to these guys here than it is in England, it’s almost like bowling in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the one-dayers, where as soon as you go up and down they’re just going to look to take you down.
“Most of the time with my role, I’ll probably look to keep the economy down, and be happy with them taking singles, and try and get wickets through bowling two or three dots.
“Rashid cramped up a little bit, he struggled a little bit with the heat, but he’s fine.
“He told me now he knows how these guys play. Yesterday was more of a practice to see what type of bowling he’ll have to bowl here, similar to the UAE against these guys, so he’s pretty happy.”
Rashid was not the only one to feel the effects of the midday heat in which England fielded a full 50 overs, with Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes having to leave the field temporarily as they struggled with cramp.
Moeen said: “It was so hot, it was ridiculous. I think Dubai was hotter in the Test matches but yesterday the outfield was heavy on the legs and it was quite hard to breathe as well.
“It was tough but it was great. We were glad in the end that we bowled first, just to get that into our system a bit.”
The 29-year-old kept ice cool in England’s chase. At 170-5 when he came to the crease with England chasing 310 for victory, the game was still very much in the balance.
But Moeen and Buttler, who top-scored with an unbeaten 80, rotated the strike to lower the total before a spate of boundaries at the end steered the tourists to victory with 23 balls to spare.
Moeen, whose innings was ended when he was caught on the boundary with the scores level, continued his resurgence from the summer where he scored Test centuries against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
He said: “It was good, obviously the win was really important for us but on a personal point it’s good to spend some time in the middle and win the game with Jos in the end.
“I feel mentally in a good place with my batting at the moment and I’m pretty happy.
“I know batting at seven in the one-dayers is a very, very important role and I’ve accepted that now. I want to be one of the better No 7s around and finish games off for England and have that role which I never really had before. It takes a bit of time but I’ve got my head around that.”
Durham are considering how Sir Ian Botham may best be able to help them in their hour of need.
Botham made it clear he is available if needed after the England & Wales Board announced Durham’s relegation from Division One of the County Championship amid a series of sanctions in exchange for a £3.8m bail-out of the financially-stricken club.
Durham will begin next summer with a 48-point penalty in Division Two and will also no longer be able to bid to host Test matches at Chester-le-Street.
Botham, who played for Durham when the county was granted first-class status 25 years ago and still lives in the area. said immediately after the sanctions were announced that he was ready to help ‘in any way he can’.
Reports have since emerged that England’s greatest all-rounder may be about to step in as Durham’s new chairman, after the end of Clive Leach’s long tenure.
It is understood discussions have been ongoing between Durham and their illustrious former player during a summer in which the ECB has been trying to work out the best way to find a sustainable first-class future for the club.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has described the club’s financial situation as being one of “unprecedented seriousness”.