Bangladesh v England, 2nd Test, Dhaka, 5th day

Cook succeeds where Shakib falls short

Andrew Miller in Dhaka

March 24, 2010

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Shakib al Hasan played several positive strokes while compiling 96, Bangladesh v England, 2nd Test, Dhaka, 5th day, March 24, 2010
Shakib Al Hasan had done everything to deserve a hundred but fell four runs short © PA Photos
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Innings of the day
Shakib Al Hasan was 22 not out overnight, with a nightwatchman for company, four second-innings wickets still intact, and a slender lead of 94 on which to build. He knew full well that, after a series in which his batting had fallen a touch short of his recent high standards, today was the day to make his presence known to the opposition. And how superbly he responded to the match situation, first in partnership with Shafiul Islam, and then as a soloist while the tail loitered alongside him. A second Test century was the only just reward, but alas on 96, his adrenalin got the better of him.

Anticlimax of the day
Shakib's rush through the nineties was exhilarating to watch, as he took on James Tredwell with a series of slamming sweeps. With a horizontal bat and perfect power and timing, he picked off two fours and a two in the space of five balls, to move to 96 for the third time in his career. But then, from the final ball of the same over, Tredwell tossed it up, and Shakib - fatally - opted for a straight-bladed charge. Instead of dragging the ball through midwicket, he tried to seal the century in style with a six over long-off, but Matt Prior gathered and whipped off the bails. As had been the case with Tim Bresnan on the fourth day, a rush of blood ended a fine performance.

Fielder of the day
After dropping the easiest catch of his life on Tuesday, Jonathan Trott came within an elbow of making spectacular amends during Bangladesh's spirited morning performance. On 54, Shakib climbed into a pull off Stuart Broad, and sent the shot spinning down towards deep square leg where Trott, sprinting round from midwicket, dived and grabbed with his outstretched left hand. For a split-second he had it, but the impact on the turf jolted the ball loose from his grasp. One over later, however, he finally got it right, as Shafiul Islam top-edged a sweep, and Trott this time swallowed the chance on the edge of the rope. It was the hardest easy catch he will ever take, and his face was a picture of fear and relief as he tugged at his England badge to indicate his heart palpitations.

Decision of the day
Trott could hardly stay out of the limelight as the match built towards its climax. After his excitement in the field, he was called upon to launch the run-chase, which he did with a decent turn of speed as he moved along to 19 from 30 balls. But then, however, Alastair Cook pushed a single into the covers, where Jahurul Islam slid and threw with impressive speed. A run-out appeal was referred to the TV umpire, Nadir Shah, who had only one angle from which to work. In one frame, Trott was out of his crease with the bails yet to drop, in the next he was home and the stumps were broken. Ordinarily, the benefit of the doubt would have gone to the batsman, but given the events of the past few days, Bangladesh deserved a break.

Last word of the day
Alastair Cook has had a match that he'll want to forget, particularly that horrible second morning when Bangladesh's tail made a mockery of his field placings. But as he prepares to hand the captaincy back to Andrew Strauss, at least he can say that he took it upon himself to sort out his own mess. A fluent and focussed 109 not out was his final contribution of the tour. It was his second century of the series and, while the pressure evaporated once the result became inevitable, it nevertheless confirmed the strength of his character. Lesser players would have let the pressures of the past few days undermine their natural game. Cook just compartmentalised, and gone on with the business of run-scoring.

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.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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