Maunders punishes Bangladesh
Bangladesh 231 and 148 for 6 v Essex 313
John Maunders took advantage of some erratic bowling to play himself back into form as Essex dominated the second day's play of their match against Bangladesh at Chelmsford.
The left-hander was dropped for the previous game against Kent after scoring a total of 107 in eight Championship innings. But he got back in the groove to strike 126, paving the way for an Essex total of 313 in response to the touring side's 231.
That left Essex with a lead of 82 and by the close they had reduced the tourists to 148 for 6 in their second innings, an advantage of just 66. Maunders was hardly presented with a demanding test from bowlers who found it difficult to generate hostility or discover a consistent length.
However, that was not his fault and his time in the middle will have boosted his confidence to reclaim his Championship spot now that Alastair Cook is expected to be away on England duty for most of the summer.
Maunders struck three sixes and 16 fours before he was caught at deep backward square leg to provide Robiul Islam with his third success of the innings. Matt Walker, after missing the last month with a calf injury, also looked set for a prolonged stay.
But after moving within five runs of his half-century and sharing in a third-wicket partnership of 110 with Maunders, he fell victim to Shahadat Hossain from a delivery that lifted more than he expected and he edged a catch to the wicketkeeper.
Grant Flower was another who fell just short of his half-century, cutting and driving his way to 46 before he was bowled by Hossain. Flower was one of four batsmen to depart for as many runs in the space of 24 deliveries as the Essex innings came to a swift conclusion.
Hossain claimed three of them to finish with 4-72 while Robiul Islam picked up 4-77. When they set off to clear the arrears, Bangladesh soon found themselves in trouble as the openers failed for a second time.
Both were dismissed in the opening three overs. Jahurul Islam fell leg before to Tony Palladino, who will be joining Kent on loan after this match, while Imrul Kayes was snapped up at short leg fending off Maurice Chambers.
Fears of a major collapse were dispelled as Junaid Siddique and Mohammad Ashraful carried Bangladesh into the lead with a partnership of 90 before the former prodded a simple catch to Tim Phillips to provide young paceman Max Osborne with success.
That pointed the way to a slump as Osborne, twice, and Michael Comber picked up three more wickets shortly before the close to leave the visitors in desperate trouble and staring defeat in the face.
Among those to depart was Ashraful who, shortly after completing his second half-century of the game, departed lbw to Comber for 61, an entertaining innings that contained 11 boundaries and spanned 63 deliveries.