Harmison strikes twice in rain-affected day
Steve Harmison: two late strikes
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Close Bangladesh 24 for 2 (Hannan Sarkar 18*, Rajin Saleh 0*)
It promised so much, but the opening day of England's inaugural Test against Bangladesh at Dhaka ended up as a damp squib, with only 15 overs and approximately an hour's play possible. It all started to go according to plan, but a thunderous downpour 20 minutes into the match effectively put paid to a day in which Bangladesh eventually crawled to 24 for 2, with Steve Harmison taking both wickets to fall.
After the heavens opened, the ground was littered with puddles within minutes, and the umpires had four inspections during the afternoon. They eventually decreed that play could resume at 4.15pm (1115 GMT) and, after some persuasion, England returned to the soggy outfield in the evening floodlit sunshine for what should have been 19 overs, although in the event only 11 more were possible before the light closed in.
And Harmison began to make up for lost time by taking the wicket of Javed Omar for 3. Harmison and Matthew Hoggard kept things tight with probing lines outside off stump with a hint of awayswing, but it was the old-fashioned short ball which did for Omar. Harmison banged one in and Omar could only fend it straight to Rikki Clarke in the gully (12 for 1).
Harmison then had a good lbw shout against the new batsman Habibul Bashar turned down by Asoka de Silva, but Bashar was soon on his way when he edged Harmison to Marcus Trescothick at first slip. Harmison again got some bounce and movement, and Bashar played an ugly angled drive which flew to Trescothick at head height (24 for 2).
Tip-toeing through the mud at Dhaka
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Hannan Sarkar, meanwhile, impressed in the short time he was at the crease, scoring the first four of the innings with an edge through the slips off Hoggard, much to the delight of the sparse crowd. He would have had two more boundaries if the outfield hadn't been so slow when he clipped Harmison through the on side and drove Hoggard through the covers, both shots bringing three runs. But even though the floodlights were on, Sarkar and Rajin Saleh readily accepted the offer of bad light at 5.05pm, to bring a forgettable first day of the series to an end.
England were boosted by Mark Butcher passing a late fitness test following his throat infection, and as expected they included two uncapped players, Rikki Clarke and Gareth Batty. They fielded only two out-and-out seamers - Hoggard and Harmison - with Clarke the third seamer, and Batty and Ashley Giles to provide the spin. Bangladesh, on the other hand, gave a debut to Enamul Haque junior, but the batting looks a bit light with Khaled Masud pencilled in at No. 6.