Talking points ahead of England’s World Cup clash with Bangladesh

England are looking to put their opening game thrashing by New Zealand behind them when they tackle Bangladesh in Dharamshala in their second World Cup outing on Tuesday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key issues surrounding the game.

Injury concerns on sandy outfield

The conventional cricketing build-up to the game has been largely overshadowed by talk of underfoot conditions at the HPCA Stadium. The pitch itself is in good condition but away from the square the ground does not appear to be operating at international standard. A loose sand-based soil composition makes for an uneven base, while the grass coverage is patchy. The International Cricket Council have said it was rated as “average” after its first game of the tournament, but that appears a generous verdict. England can ill afford to sustain injuries in the field, but must balance any precautions against their natural instincts to chase down every ball.

Altitude six-ness

Liam Livingstone will be swinging for the fences (Tim Goode/PA)
Liam Livingstone will be swinging for the fences (Tim Goode/PA)

England have established a reputation over several years as a batting side who do not die wondering, but their efforts were made to look gentle by New Zealand, who easily outscored them on boundary count in Ahmedabad. They could not have pitched up at a better place to find their hitting range, with the stadium sitting 1,500 metres above sea level and benefitting from thin mountain air that can help the ball fly further. Liam Livingstone blasted nine sixes here as he struck 94 in 48 balls at this year’s IPL and he has already indicated a willingness to go for a repeat. He is unlikely to be alone.

Bairstow joins the hundred club

Jonny Bairstow will celebrate a landmark appearance (Nigel French/PA)
Jonny Bairstow will celebrate a landmark appearance (Nigel French/PA)

England opener Jonny Bairstow will collect his 100th ODI cap when the team-sheets are handed over, the 27th Englishman to do so and the sixth in the current squad. Only one of those has ever celebrated the milestone by scoring a hundred – current batting coach Marcus Trescothick in 2005. The opponents that day? Bangladesh.

A familiar foe

Shakib Al Hasan is a fierce competitor for Bangldesh.
Shakib Al Hasan is a fierce competitor for Bangladesh (Simon Cooper/PA)

England place a lot of store on their engine room of all-rounders – Moeen Ali, Livingstone and Sam Curran – but it is their opponents who boast the number one all-rounder in the ICC rankings: Shakib Al Hasan. The wily left-armer first faced England as long ago as 2007 and has proved a thorn in their side over the years. He scored a fine hundred at Cardiff in the group stages of the 2019 tournament and earlier this year snapped up four for 35 in Mirpur, including three of the top four. He took three Afghanistan wickets at this ground on Saturday and will have a good feel for bowling in these conditions.

England need to reclaim safety net

Net run-rate is not the glitziest or most glamourous of concepts, but occasionally it can be the difference between reaching the knockouts and booking an early flight home. With nine group games to sort the wheat from the chaff, banking results remains the most important thing but England do have a grisly figure of minus 2.149 to contend with in the right-hand column of the standings. They were not just beaten by New Zealand, they were hammered with more than 13 overs left. At some stage they will want to work on improving that number and that means collecting a few handsome wins of their own. There is no time like the present.