Chittagong awaits a heartstopping climax

Broad: We need two good deliveries (1:43)

Stuart Broad discussed the 'positive' nerves ahead of the final day of the opening Test between Bangladesh and England. (1:43)

In the heat of the moment - and Chittagong moments come hotter than most - it may seem as if everything depends on the first hour or so of the final day of this wonderfully absorbing Test.

And it's true that with Bangladesh chasing an historic win there is plenty at stake. Sabbir Rahman, the calmest man on the pitch in the last hour, is already well on his way to joining fellow debutant Mehedi Hasan Miraz as a legend and England are in danger of making a losing start to their Asian tour. Six more Tests in these conditions before Christmas is starting to look like a mountainous challenge.

The last day matters. And that's just the way it should be.

But there is a bigger picture. There is a picture that sees the longest form of the game struggling to remain relevant across the world and a picture in which Bangladesh are fighting to prove its suitability as a host for international teams.

And, in that grander scheme of things, this first Test has already been a resounding success. Contested by two fine but flawed sides, it has seen the initiative swing by the hour. It has seen new heroes introduced to the big stage and established stars produce memorable performances. It has been, in short, wonderfully, endlessly entertaining and unpredictable. Neither Mehedi Hasan nor Ben Stokes deserve to be on the losing side.

Test cricket has proved, once again, that given a half-decent pitch, it remains great entertainment. Let us not be sidetracked here with a debate on whether it is more enjoyable than T20. It is perfectly reasonable to enjoy both in different ways. They can coexist.

Whatever happens on the final day, Bangladesh can take great encouragement from this match. This is, after all, a team that has lost all eight of their previous Tests against England. It is a team that has not played Test cricket for more than a year, that is arguably without its three best seam bowlers, and that has, in its entire 94 -est history, only taken 20 wickets eight times previously. Zimbabwe and the under-strength West Indies side, captained by Floyd Reifer, were the opposition on the other occasions. Win or lose, Bangladesh have impressed in Chittagong, and anyone who loves Test cricket - even the most partisan England supporter - will celebrate their development.

England deserve some credit, too. It would have been easy not to come on this tour. It would have been easy to cite the terrorist threats as a reason and to arrange some warm-up games in India ahead of that series. Instead they have understood the need to retain Bangladesh as a host nation in international cricket and taken the courageous decision to tour. Maybe, behind the scenes, the motivation has been political: a hope to win support in ICC meetings or similar. But at the players' and coaches' level, they have reflected on their options and chosen to embrace every aspect of this trip.

"It's lovely being on the boundary. Some of the Bangladeshi fans have been chanting for England and I think they have really appreciated the fact that we've come"

Stuart Broad feels the love in Chittagong

If that sounds like a pretty insignificant decision, consider for a moment what might have happened to Bangladesh cricket in the longer term had England declined to tour. Consider, too, what it is like when you wake in the morning and see armed guards outside your window. When your commute to work is accompanied by several hundred armed men and when you know you cannot leave your hotel or dressing room for the duration of the tour.

What England have done here is not insignificant. It is brave and admirable and good for the future of international cricket. The ECB has been involved in several greedy, selfish decisions in recent years. This time, at least, its intentions are good.

It would be no disgrace to lose to this Bangladesh side either. Some portions of the media would portray it that way, but that would undervalue both sides. The truth is that whoever wins in these conditions, there is little to choose between the teams. That doesn't mean England are rubbish; it means they are far from perfect and that Bangladesh are improving. It disrespects Bangladesh to denigrate England.

To their immense credit, the protagonists on both sides have appreciated that bigger picture here. Stuart Broad is a man sometimes loathed by opponents for his edge in the heat of battle. A man whose passion sometimes manifests itself in ways that irk. A man who gives everything every time he takes the field. A man who had just bowled a nine-over spell and is desperate to win and will do everything he can (within the Laws) to ensure England do just that. But even he understood he was part of something more important here.

"All the players have really enjoyed being here," Broad said. "It's lovely being on the boundary. Some of the Bangladeshi fans have been chanting for England and I think they have really appreciated the fact that we've come. It was a big decision and I'm glad the Test has been this exciting.

"I don't think any of us will sleep well tonight. With two wickets or 33 runs required, how could we? But everyone is drawn to Test cricket when it is tight and exciting. I've been fortunate to play 99 Tests matches and this would certainly be in my top five of nerve-wracking finishes. I don't think anyone likes games where it is 600 v 600.

"It's been hard today, but that's part of the challenge of Test cricket. It's a test of character. It's about testing yourself in very different conditions. And this situation shows how far Bangladesh cricket has come. They have some high-quality players and we're in a big battle tomorrow. There's going to be 11 very disappointed and 11 delighted guys. We need to come out on top."

None of this means that the result doesn't matter. In the fullness of time, England must reflect on the fact that, on a fourth-day pitch that turned from the first ball of day one, their captain was unable to trust any of his three spinners sufficiently to bowl when the match was coming to the boil. Gareth Batty offers control but lacks pace; Moeen Ali offers the bite but not the control, and Adil Rashid lacks both the pace and the control.

They must reflect, too, on that fact that, for the 28th time since April 1, 2015, England were three wickets down before they reached 75 and consider whether Gary Ballance should be retained and whether Ben Duckett should be in the middle order rather than opening the batting.

They need to think about the balance of their side - do they need another spinner, or would that represent mediocrity in depth? - and decide whether three spinners and three seamers is the way to go in India.

Most teams would open with two spinners on day five. But England? Broad suggested it would be one spinner and one seamer. It may well prove to be Broad and Stokes searching for some reverse. Moeen looks the most likely wicket-taker of the spinners, but also looks liable to concede ten in an over.

The ICC might also need to reflect on the quality of umpiring in this match. We know the job is tough and we know that we all endure poor days at work. But we have seen 24 reviews here and ten decisions overturned. That can't be right.

But these things can wait. Anyone who thinks cricket is just about winning and losing doesn't understand the game at all. This has been an inspirational few days where all of us who value the game have won.

Cricket has shown, as it has in Afghanistan and Ireland and Kenya and inner-cities and rural areas across the world, that it can unite and heal in a way politicians cannot. These things matter a great deal more than results. This has been a great game and the result won't change that.