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March 22, 2010
Innings of the day
Who would have thought that the sight of Ian Bell marching to the wicket could carry with it such reassurance? And who would have thought that a man who has been habitually derided for "soft runs" could attain such fulfilment from a century against Bangladesh? But strange things have happened to Ian Bell this winter, and his chipper tenth Test century was the bedrock of an otherwise jittery England innings. For the first time in his career he was the only man on the card to reach three figures (though Tim Bresnan may yet ruin that statistic) and until he fell in the final hour of the day, his average against Bangladesh had reached a heady 488. No matter. For England's sake, it was invaluable.
Dismissal of the day
Jonathan Trott's second-day 64 was "like watching paint dry", according to Darren Gough, who added, via Twitter, that innings such as his are "killing cricket". So it was either a cruel misfortune or a blessed relief when Trott's resumption was curtailed in the space of eight deliveries this morning. He had added no runs - to no great surprise - when he propped half-forward to Shakib Al Hasan, only for the ball to loop off the pad, onto his elbow, and curl agonisingly and inexorably into his off stump.
Controversy of the day
To make any real headway against a determined England line-up, Bangladesh needed some luck to back up their determination. But as Andy Flower admitted in the build-up to the series, "I think sometimes the bigger teams get things going their way", and sure enough each of England's three key batsmen on the third day got a reprieve. Matt Prior might have been pinned lbw on 9 by a Rubel Hossain inswinger, but went on to make 62; Bresnan appeared to nick a bat-pad catch on 5, but was still there at the close on 74; and when Bell walked across his stumps to Abdur Razzak on 82, an irate Jamie Siddons charged out of the dressing-room to gesticulate that it ought to have been given out lbw.
Drop of the day
Some let-offs, however, couldn't be blamed on the umpire, and the one that Imrul Kayes handed to Bell, on 120, had the makings of a passion-killer, coming as it did in the third over after tea, and with Bangladeshi heads already beginning to drop. With Shafiul Islam working up a good head of steam, Bell flicked loosely to midwicket, where Imrul dived forward but couldn't cling onto the chance. And at 381 for 5, with a first-innings deficit of less than 40, England seemed set to push on to the 500-odd total that Kevin Pietersen had predicted on the second evening. But to Bangladesh's credit, things didn't quite pan out that way.
Mow of the day
Pietersen also claimed that it was virtually impossible to remove a well-set batsman on this pitch, but England somehow contrived some impressive ways to end their stays. For sheer lack of gorm, few dismissals rivalled that of Matt Prior, whose already breezy innings was given a bit of jet-propulsion when Shakib Al Hasan served up a brace of help-yourself full-tosses that were readily tonked to the boundary. But with his dander up, Prior forgot that Shakib bad-balls are the exception, not the norm. Two balls later he skipped down the track to attempt a third leg-side four, but yorked himself sublimely as the delivery tweaked out of the rough and into off stump.
Stodge of the day
Bresnan's batting is highly fancied by the England management, despite the fact that his only previous Test innings was a non-descript 9 against West Indies last summer. But in a team of all round potential, he has been pushed up the order ahead of both Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, and today he proved his worth with his maiden Test half-century. It wasn't a pretty affair by any means, and in fact his 74 from 214 balls put Trott's 64 from 195 in the shade. But seeing as his primary role is to take wickets, and his secondary role was to support Bell in a 143-run stand, it was rather more forgivable.
Bowler of the day
Amid all the gripes, one man rumbled on. Shakib's end-of-day analysis read 57-27-99-4, a testament to his personal powers of endurance on a day when his team might easily have lost their focus. He still has time to claim his five-for with two wickets still to claim, but he had a hand - quite literally - in one other wicket to fall, when his fingertips brushed a Bresnan drive into the non-striker's stumps, with Graeme Swann left stranded. It proved to be a timely dose of good fortune, with Broad's late dismissal redressing the balance significantly.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.Feeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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