Bangladesh are not going down without a fight as backs-to-the-wall resistance from Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim ensured England will have to come back for a fifth day. When the home side were reduced to 110 for 5 shortly before tea the hard work had seemingly been done, but the sixth-wicket pair remained undefeated throughout the final session.
There has been a sense of inevitability about this whole match, but Bangladesh’s periods of resistance have made England dig deep in hot conditions. Siddique showed great determination after being worked over in the first innings and, barring the occasion lapse in judgement, was impressively solid during a four-and-a-half hour stay. He proved that Bangladesh batsmen are capable of occupying the crease without regularly finding the boundary and each time his concentration appeared to be wavering he refocused.
Rahim followed his first-innings 79 with another composed, mature innings and he was rarely troubled by pace or spin, except from the occasional top-edged sweep. He passed 1000 runs in his 20th Test and again struck the ball cleanly when boundary opportunities were offered. England will look forward to the new ball in the morning, but creating chances when conditions go flat remains a challenge.
The pace bowlers certainly felt the heat as they operated in short bursts, while Graeme Swann continued his notable match by booking in for a 25-over spell before being given a break – and that was only for a change of ends. Tim Bresnan was the most impressive paceman, particularly with a six-over spell in the afternoon session where he extracted Aftab Ahmed and Mahmudullah with reverse swing, but Stuart Broad appeared laboured and couldn’t match the menace of the first innings.
England batted on for 50 minutes to leave Bangladesh a hypothetical target of 513 with the decision based more on time that it was runs. Alastair Cook is following the conservative route of Andrew Strauss when he comes to declarations. After the way Broad bombed the top order in the first innings it wasn’t a surprise when the same tactics were used again. Tamim Iqbal was again the more confident of the openers, but Imrul Kayes offered greater determination after a limp first-innings dismissal as he survived the short ball.
Both Broad and Bresnan were rested after four-over spells – while Broad regularly got his head swathed in a cold towel at fine leg – with Swann given a successful early bowl and Steven Finn offered a chance with the ball still reasonably hard. In his second over, Swann produced another lovely piece of bowling when he spun one past Tamim’s outside edge to take off stump.
Finn immediately hit a testing line and made Siddique inside edge close to the stumps and Kayes couldn’t build on his gutsy start as Finn showed the value of height to make one climb outside off and graze the edge through to Matt Prior. The more Finn bowls the more exciting a prospect he appears and his two wickets doesn’t reflect his endeavours.
England were frustrated during the afternoon session as Aftab and Siddique played with impressive restraint. There was very little help off the pitch for either the quicks or Swann, but at around the 30-over mark the ball began to reverse. Bresnan has been more of a threat with the older ball in this game than with the new one and caused problems from the start of his second spell.
In his second over he found Aftab’s edge with a full delivery as the batsman drove without much footwork to undo his hard work. Mahmudullah found life tough against the late movement, getting off the mark with a streaky edge to third man, and soon played all round a full delivery. It was a loose shot for a talented batsman but Bresnan deserved his success.
Shakib Al Hasan completed a poor match with the bat, although can feel aggrieved with his decision after replays showed he gloved a sweep that Tony Hill ruled had come off the pad. Shakib has felt his team hasn’t had much luck with umpiring decisions and his anger was clear. However, the fact he fell to Swann wasn’t a surprise. The offspinner has had the Bangladesh’s captain number throughout the tour and had almost bowled him first ball.
That loss appeared to open the door for a swift conclusion and an extra day off for England’s weary attack, but there is more bottle in this Bangladesh side than some people give them credit for. England will still win, but Test victories are meant to be earned and the home side have ensured it hasn’t been handed to them on a plate.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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