Dawid Malan’s century in the first one-day international against Bangladesh was “a great lesson to all of us”, says England captain Jos Buttler.
England’s next-highest scorer was debutant Will Jacks with 26, while Phil Salt (12) was the only other top-six batter to make double figures.
“His innings was outstanding,” said Buttler.
“It was a great lesson to all of us in the group on how you can adapt your game and play on these wickets.”
Malan came to the crease six balls into the innings after Jason Roy was caught at mid-off and was there almost 48 overs later to hit the winning runs.
He started slowly, struggling with the slow and spin-friendly conditions of the pitch, but brought up his century off 134 balls, with six fours and four sixes.
The 35-year-old now has back-to-back ODI hundreds having made 118 against South Africa at the start of February.
‘One man was exceptional today’
“It was satisfying to get over the line and handling pressure is part of the job,” said Malan, who staked another claim to start in October’s World Cup in India.
“It is definitely my best century for England. I thought my one in South Africa was good but to do it in those conditions, it is one of the better ones I’ve had in any format, at any level of the game.”
Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone are not in the squad that has travelled to Bangladesh, with earning a place in England’s top six highly competitive.
Malan says he had a conversation with head coach Matthew Mott, who was appointed in May, about a lack of opportunities in 50-over cricket.
“I’ve been carrying the drinks since 2017. A lot of other guys have been given opportunities because of their age,” Malan said.
“But as soon as you have a new coach and captain it gives you an opportunity and ‘Motty’ listens.
“I told him not to pigeonhole me as a certain type of player. If you need me to be at number five I can play it like a T20, if you need me to open I can do that. Just tell me the role you want me to play.
“I have always played when ‘Rooty’ has not played, so I have fulfilled a certain role that he has done so well. If they need me to play a different way I can do it, just give me the opportunity. ‘Motty’ has been very good and clear with me.”
Malan’s fourth ODI century, rescuing England from 65-4 in the 17th over, showed guile, grit and graft while the rest of England’s batters struggled to get set.
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said Malan’s knock was key to the tourists’ win.
“Sometimes you face an innings like Malan’s. You just have to give it to him, I thought he batted really well,” he added.
“One man was exceptional today and he made the difference.”
‘He thinks he is one of the world’s best batters’
Malan built a number of key partnerships at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, adding 38 runs with both Jacks and Moeen Ali, before posting an unbroken 51 with England’s number nine Adil Rashid.
“What impressed me the most was Malan’s ability to recognise when to soak up pressure and then when to put it back on the bowlers,” said former England bowler Steven Finn on Sky Sports.
“He has got experience of playing in these conditions and he’s played in a lot of the leagues in the subcontinent, which I think counts for a lot. To have the calmness of mind to take a breath, England needed that today.”
Malan’s latest unbeaten century was his third knock of 50 or more in his past four ODIs for England.
“Dawid Malan is one of the most confident blokes in his own ability that I’ve come across,” added England T20 World Cup winner Tymal Mills on Sky Sports.
“He thinks he is one of the best batters in the world, so he is out there thinking that and believing that and trusting his process.”
‘Calm, class, crash bang wallop’ – what you said
Jambarrell: Let that end the Malan debate for now, unless it’s debating whether he opens or goes three.
Greg: Probably one of Malan’s finest one-day innings. Calm, patient, hitting boundaries when needed on a testing wicket. Well played sir.
Mark: Fantastic win. Malan showing his class and mettle again.
Jon: One of the best knocks in recent times – calm, class, crash bang wallop!