Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Chittagong, 1st day March 12, 2010

Cook and Pietersen hurt poor Bangladesh


England 374 for 3 (Cook 158*, Collingwood 32*) v Bangladesh
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alastair Cook is only keeping the England captaincy hot seat warm, but he continues to sit very comfortably in the position as he maintained his impressive tour of Bangladesh with an unbeaten 158 on his first day as the Test leader. Alongside Kevin Pietersen's much-awaited return to form, which ended agonisingly on 99 to a left-arm spinner, the pair formed the backbone of England's dominant opening-day total of 374 for 3 at Chittagong.

Cook became the fifth England captain to score a hundred in his first match in charge. The last one to do so was Pietersen although that innings, against South Africa at The Oval, feels like a lifetime ago. At last, though, there was a glimpse of the Pietersen flair as he and Cook added 170 in 45 overs, but that does have to be countered by the immensely dire quality of the bowling on offer. Bangladesh started poorly and didn't get any better, finishing the day with a series of freebies for Paul Collingwood as he eased to 32 and Cook closed three short of a new career-best.

It was thanks to the generosity of Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, that the visitors were able to take first use of a surface that looks certain to wear and turn considerably - albeit slowly - as the match progresses. His decision to bowl will go down among the most unfathomable calls, although it smacked largely of a lack of confidence in his own team's batting than any belief that it was the best way to challenge in the game.

However, England weren't going to look a gift-horse in the mouth especially after packing the side with batting. Cook was barely troubled during his 244-ball innings as he continued his quietly impressive tour where he has maintained, and improved, his form despite the added burden of captaincy. During the one-day series there was a new-found freedom to his strokeplay and he brought that confidence into the five-day game, never typified better than when he reached his hundred from 148 deliveries with a slog-swept six. His first boundary was the same shot and it meant he doubled his tally of Test sixes in the space of an innings.

A sign of the confidence in Cook's game was a return of the cover drive which he shelved in South Africa after his troubles outside off stump to the quick bowlers. However, the threat from the Bangladesh attack was far removed from that of Dale Steyn and Co. and he pierced the off side with increasingly regularity. If Andrew Strauss had woken in the early hours in the UK he will have watched contently with the team in safe hands.

But while Cook came into the match with form, it was a vastly different story for Pietersen. He entered under mounting pressure having endured another lean run since arriving in Bangladesh and a continuation of his poor record against left-arm spinners. He was soon facing Abdur Razzak, but it was a missed opportunity from Shakib when he didn't introduce himself straight away and instead stuck with Rubel Hossain after his dismissal of Jonathan Trott.

Pietersen has spent hours in the nets working alongside Andy Flower on his technique against left-arm spinners and there was a clear change in method in evidence as he stayed leg-side of the ball rather that getting squared-up. He laid an early marker with a fine inside-out drive through mid off and his footwork was far more certain.

In the final over before tea he reach fifty from 60 balls with some help from a misfield and after the break began moving through the gears with a hint of the flamboyance that has been missing since he lost the captaincy. He made a statement to Shakib by dispatching him for a six and two fours - all straight down the ground - in the space of four balls. It appeared he would blaze to three figures, but this isn't, yet, the Pietersen of old and he tried to nudge his way there which resulted in him being squared-up by Razzak.

Cook, though, motored on past 150 before shutting up shop as stumps approached. England batsmen don't score many double hundreds - there's a big one on offer here. He had been outscored during the early exchanges as Michael Carberry made a confident start to his Test career having been handed his cap alongside the Middlesex paceman Steven Finn. Carberry eased to 30 before becoming tied down by offspin and fell to an ambitious sweep against Mahmudullah.

Jonathan Trott went about his innings at his own sedate pace, but looked confident after his warm-up hundred as he added 77 with Cook. He was given out caught off the helmet from a Rubel short ball which bounced as much as anything all day. There is no UDRS in this series so all Trott could do was shake his head and it was the only thing to go Bangladesh's way. However, they didn't deserve anything else and it is already only a question of how long they can hang on in this Test.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajesh on March 13, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Bangladesh is an improving side on a natural curve. The quality of players nowadays is far better than few years ago. IMHO most BD players have got talent but are not using it, may be due lack of confidence and maturity.

  • Karthikeyan on March 13, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    Hi all...Bangladesh needs to improve.They are in a very bad spot.BD guys pls stop commenting about Team India.Because India is far better than BD.It will take years for BD team to beat even India A team.who can beat this records...200 * by Sachin...10 wkts by Anil..Batting records of Sourav,Dravid...Genius like Sunny,Kapil...I could list out a number of great players from India but none from BD...Even I would Like to BD to play better cricket

  • zulfiquar on March 12, 2010, 22:50 GMT

    Cook 401* not out at end of play - day two. And I am a Bangladeshi. England should be rewarded with that and Bangladesh should stop talking the talk so much.

  • Dre on March 12, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Look it is too late to take test status from Bangladesh! That is just crazy! They have gone way ahead of the other associate nations. Now they are in an awkward place. What needs to be done is IMPROVE CLUB structure. If not, PERSIST with the same XI-15 players at int'l level ang give them about 4 yrs or so. What needs to be done also is work on Afghanistan and Irish Club structure as well so that they soon can be ready for test status. Come on ICC get some governance going and improve Club structure in weaker teams!

  • Anwarul on March 12, 2010, 20:23 GMT

    btw we don't have the luxury of getting playing from other country. what is a england team without those foreigners? And on top india and nz took 26 some years to win a test with the help of their ump. When bd gets just the opposite. We have one or two players who can score in a match and that player more often given out by the elite!!! umpires... So it's really funny when I see the Indian fans scream about out test status….Yeah I know England also got a bad decision but the difference is most string team have a lot of WC players where we have one or two.

  • Anwarul on March 12, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    when ever bangladesh plays little bad why does every one starts screaming to take our test status away? I mean these same people will hide in their hole when BD plays great (example the 1st test against INDIA in the same pitch, or NZ). These people are never to be found. but just like a rat they come out when they see even a slight of bad playing. ICC should intervin to find out why england was aloud to play a 3 day match in the same field when bd get no practice match in NZ. I know some BCB people r making money out of this and we the fan and the players get the bad name when the team does bad. how the hell piterson got left hand bowlers to bowl at him at the nets? And about the pitch. You guys have no clue. this is our pitch and we know the best way to play on this. this picth stays best for batting from day 2 and 3. and gets the bets spin in day 1. and that's why sakib chose to field first. it because of the poor bowling and filding we couldn't take more wickets.

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    If England wanted Carberry to open; why did they select Bell at 6? It has been proven time and again that you don't need 6 out and out batsmen in the sub-continent. Having a batsman at 6 gives the message that you don't have confidence in the top 5. With Prior, Broad, Swann and Bresnan at 7 to 10; what value will Bell bring to the team? Surely the team would be much better balanced with the 2nd spinner in there and everyone moves up one slot?? I have heard the pundits say that Prior is not a test number 6 but 'horse for courses' Bangladesh aren't much of an opposition in the test arena.

  • Matt on March 12, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    We will win in 3 and a half days.The selections are about what we want to do this summer and in the Ashes, Bangladesh is just a net and to get Finn involved with the first eleven.

  • kas on March 12, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Well my friend 'Palash Kar', I won't even bother argue because I actually agree with your comment that BD is an ordinary team. I know its only the first day, but test matches consists of five days because of a reason and every single day counts as you have to stay on top on each day to win test matches. I dont entirely blame shakib because its siddons fault as he set the clear instruction to shakib to makesure BD fields first if won the toss. Vice versa if shakib elected to bat first and if everything were to go wrong such as BD: 98-8 at stumps, then all the media including commentators would have blamed shakib again by not choosing to field first. I still believe that Bangladesh is one of the most corrupted countries and the selectors are to be blamed because how can BD not have serious fast bowlers other than Mashrafe? Something needs to be done very soon otherwise we will remain the laughing stock in cricket. I'm sory if I've offended any BD fans Coz I'm a Bangladeshi myself!!!!

  • Sam on March 12, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    @ Setting Sun. Well said mate. England has stacked too many batsmen as if they are facing a strong team. They should have added more bowlers so that some of the lads playing county cricket will get a bit of practice. B'Desh will never be able to gate 20 wickets as it is and I dont understand why England made it even more difficult for B'Deshi bowlers.

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