Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Dhaka, 3rd day October 23, 2003

It's close in the dark at Dhaka

Marcus Trescothick celebrates his hundred - but it was generally a day of frustration for England
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Close Bangladesh 203 and 12 for 1 trail England 295 (Trescothick 113, Thorpe 64) by 80 runs

England established a lead on the third day of their inaugural Test against Bangladesh at Dhaka - but it was hard going on a wearing pitch against some testing spin and new-ball bowling. From 111 for 0 overnight, an eventual total of 295, and a lead of 92, was disappointing from Michael Vaughan's point of view. Bangladesh did lose one wicket before bad light brought an early close, but Ashley Giles and Gareth Batty will need to improve on their first-innings bowling if England are to press home their slender advantage.

It was a day for the left-handers. For England Marcus Trescothick hit his fifth Test century, and Graham Thorpe ground out a hard-fought 64. And for Bangladesh the screw was turned by two left-arm spinners, Mohammad Rafique and the 16-year-old Enamul Haque junior, who wheeled down almost 60 tight overs between them and shared five wickets.

In the extended pre-lunch session England added 75, but lost four important wickets. For a brief period, when three captains came and went in as many overs, they were all at sea. Khaled Mahmud switched his bowlers around astutely all day, and after 50 quiet minutes his first change - the introduction of Rafique - paid off immediately. Vaughan attempted an ambitious paddle-sweep, and the ball, which kept slightly low, hit off stump via the tiniest of bottom edges. Vaughan, nowhere near his fluent best, departed for 48 (137 for 1).

Another bowling change brought another wicket next over. Mushfiqur Rahman's gentle swinger that held its line, and the scoreless Mark Butcher played tentatively round it. Leg-before decisions are rarely so straightforward, and Rahman had his first Test wicket (140 for 2).

Next to go was Nasser Hussain, also for a duck, as England lurched from cruise control to emergency stop. Hussain had tried an ambitious drive from his first ball, but didn't learn from the error and tried the same shot in Rahman's next over. He only provided Khaled Mashud, Bangladesh's wicketkeeper, with the simplest of catches (141 for 3). England had lost three for three - and it might have been worse, as in the middle of the collapse Trescothick had played a cramped cut off Rafique, and edged to first slip, where Rahman put down the chance. It was his second letoff, as Alok Kapali had failed to hold on to a difficult chance in the gully shortly before.

Trescothick's third life came when he missed a straight one from the impressive Rahman - whose morning figures were 7-4-11-2 - and Asoka de Silva somehow decided that the ball was missing the stumps. Trescothick then opened up, cutting for four and dancing down the track to bring up his century with a lofted six over widish mid-on.

By then the spinners were turning the ball prodigiously, with Enamul in particular giving it a real rip. He got his deserved reward when Trescothick attempted to pull-sweep a well-flighted delivery. The ball took the bottom of the bat and looped to Mahmud at square leg (175 for 4). Trescothick's 113 came from 194 balls, and included 16 fours and three meaty sixes.

For a while it was Bangladesh v Surrey, as Thorpe and Rikki Clarke dug in. But again quick wickets set England back just as they seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Thorpe and Clarke added 49, but it took them more than 30 overs as Rafique and Enamul kept it tight. Clarke struggled in his first Test innings, and had grafted to 14 off 93 balls, in over an hour and a half, when he let one go from Rafique. It turned out to be the arm ball, and cannoned into off stump (224 for 5).

Enamul Haque jnr celebrates the wicket of Chris Read
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Chris Read had a narrow escape when he was rapped on the pads first ball, and Thorpe also survived a close shave in the same over. Read didn't last long, though: next over he flashed at Enamul, and only managed a snick to the keeper, Khaled Mashud (225 for 6).

Thorpe and Gareth Batty steadied the ship somewhat, putting on 41. Thorpe once strolled down to belt Enamul back over his head for six, but for the most part defence was the watchword. Batty, in his first Test innings, played intelligently and straight, and survived an hour for 19.

Mahmud raised a few eyebrows by taking the new ball, but again his hunch paid off. Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh's quickest bowler, first induced Batty to edge through to Mashud (266 for 7), then nearly pulled off a stunning one-handed salmon-leap at mid-off when Thorpe drove Rafique uppishly in the next over. But from what turned out to be the last ball before tea Thorpe was caught in two minds by a short delivery, and could only lob it to Rajin Saleh in the gully (267 for 8). Thorpe batted five minutes short of four hours for his 64, and hit seven fours and a six.

Stephen Harmison lasted only three balls after tea before he missed a straight full-toss from Mortaza (267 for 9), but Giles and Matthew Hoggard put on 28 precious runs before Giles toe-ended a sweep, which was well caught by Aftab Ahmed, the substitute, diving down the pitch from silly point. It wrapped up an impressive bowling performance from Bangladesh, for whom Mortaza and Rafique took three wickets apiece.

Out came Bangladesh, even though the conditions were far from perfect, with most of the illumination coming from the floodlights. Some of the bulbs weren't working, and some wags suggested that the Bangladesh Board hadn't paid the electricity bill - but it turned out that there had been a power cut. As Javed Omar had been off the field with an injury which precluded him from taking his regular place at the top of the order, Saleh opened with Hannan Sarkar - and failed to survive until the close, as he tried to drop his hands on a lifter from Harmison, but gloved it through to Read (12 for 1).

Shortly afterwards the umpires took the players off, and they didn't return. The first session tomorrow will be vital - quick wickets for England could wrap up the match, but runs for Bangladesh would set up an intriguing fourth-innings run-chase.