Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duckett Has Debut to Remember as He Helps Lead Recovery with Stokes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Duckett Has Debut to Remember as He Helps Lead Recovery with Stokes

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Macpherson in Dhaka

BEN STOKES, with his highest ODI score, and new boy Ben Duckett shared a brilliant partnership to help carry England from a wobble to a position of real strength in the first ODI against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

England's openers Jason Roy and James Vince made a fine start, full of elegant drives, until the latter looked to hit down the ground and could only find mid-on.

Roy, smacking straight to long-off, then Jonny Bairstow, looking for a suicidal single to get off the mark and run out from mid-off, soon followed -- meaning England had lost three wickets for just 22 runs.

That brought Duckett and Stokes together with the score 63 for three.

At first, the former was watchful as Stokes struggled.

After 17 balls he had just seven but he launched a Mosharraf Hossain long-hop into the stands at midwicket and never looked back, unfurling his wide array of strokes: pumping sixes down the ground, pulling through midwicket and even reverse-sweeping the seamers for four.

Just as he began to look totally imperious, however, Stokes was given a pair of lives. On 69, he drilled Taskin Ahmed straight to mid-on, where the sheer power of the stroke saw the ball pop out of Mahmadullah's hands.

Then next over, Mosharraf Hossain dropped a straightforward skier at deep-cover as Stokes miscued off Mashrafe Mortaza.

Stokes passed his previous highest ODI score of 75 while Duckett reached a measured maiden 50 from 63 balls, full of fine reverse-sweeps and ramps down the ground.

Duckett was not England's only debutant today. Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball replaced Liam Plunkett, who missed out with a toe injury picked up in Tuesday's warm-up win over a BCB XI in Fatullah.

Plunkett bowled just four overs in that match before having to leave the field with a sore toe.

He bowled two more overs when he returned but was clearly struggling. Plunkett has continued to struggle with his toe since, with an injection not helping, leaving his participation in the final two ODIs -- which are on Sunday in Dhaka and Wednesday in Chittagong -- in doubt. …

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