England beat Bangladesh by a distance last night, but the 168-run victory-margin should not take the shine off the arrival of a batting genius.
Mohammad Ashraful followed his hundred at a run-a-ball against Australia at Cardiff with a dazzling innings of 94 off 52 balls including 11 fours and three sixes.
Needing a notional 392 to win following masterful innings from Andrew Strauss (152 off 128 balls), Paul Collingwood with an unbeaten 112 off 86 balls and a typically sledgehammer 85 from 65 balls by Marcus Trescothick, the 12,000 crowd expected a second-half damp squib.
Instead, the longest day of the year produced one of the most dazzling fireworks displasy ever seen in one-day cricket from Ashraful.
He massacred Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff - half of the much-vaunted four-man pace attack who are expected to make an impact in the Ashes series - in a magnificent exhibition of hooking and driving which plundered 67 off seven overs.
Harmison, particularly, was treated with utter contempt. His first over went for 19, including a huge hooked six, while his third cost 17 - and there was not a slog or false stroke in the carnage.
Flintoff was brought on to stop the bleeding, but he disappeared for 12 in one over as Ashrafal thrilled everyone with breathtaking strokes. He hit 21 off his first nine balls on his way to 50 off 21 including 42 in boundaries. The crowd were ecstatic as they saw the youngster destroy the home attack.
His half-century was the eighth-quickest in one-day history and it took Ashley Giles and Collingwood to slow him down. But only relatively as he creamed 44 more off 31 balls before he was bowled by the Durham man of the match.
Ashraful scored his 94 runs off 52 balls (62 in boundaries) out of 125 added for the third wicket with opener Javed Omar Belim and he saved the day for his team and the crowd.
The rest of the innings was an anti-climax, even though all sorts of tawdry records were set. Collingwood became the first England bowler to take six wickets in an innings and the one saving grace was that the home side fell seven runs short of the record one-day score of 398.
The England innings was even more of a bowling embarrassment to Bangladesh than at the Oval last week. Trescothick had much more of the strike than Strauss (only 128 balls faced although he was out in the last over) and hammered his 88 out of 141 for the first wicket in 17 overs.
Vaughan only faced eight balls before he dragged one on and shows little sign of coming to terms with one-day cricket. If he was not captain, he would not be in the side and Flintoff wasted a prime opportunity for much-needed time in the middle by slogging to long-off, just as he did at Bristol on Sunday.
Collingwood joined Strauss at 174 and what followed was surreal. They both registered their second one-day hundred in a partnership of 215 in 25 overs with the second hundred coming off 45 balls.
A big plus for England was the debut of Chris Tremlett, not just for his four wickets but for his impressive aggressive pace.
As for Collingwood, his hundred and six wickets gave him the best ever all-round one-day return.