Lions on the verge of victory after tourists struggle
Bangladesis 220 and 139 for 9 lead England Lions 294 by 65 runs
Steven Davies delivered a timely demonstration of his quality with an impressive batting display as the England Lions pushed Bangladesh to the brink of a crushing defeat at Derby.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper top-scored with 81 from 88 balls to earn the Lions a lead of 76 in front of the England selectors and then took five catches as the tourists folded feebly to 139 for 9.
Liam Plunkett and Ravi Bopara each took three wickets to leave the tourists only 63 runs ahead and staring at a demoralising defeat ahead of next week's first Test. Davies toured Bangladesh with England earlier this year and endorsed his international credentials in front of national team director Andy Flower and the other selectors who were meeting at the County Ground ahead of next week's Lord's Test.
The Lions were in trouble at 148 for 5, still 72 runs adrift, two overs after Davies came in, but the Surrey gloveman batted confidently to take his side past the tourists' first-innings total of 220.
He hit nine fours to reach his fifty from 65 balls, and the Lions were 61 in front when he was superbly caught at wide long-on. The Lions had started the second day 95 runs behind and should have lost Andrew Gale before he added to his overnight 63 in the second over of a sunny morning but Rubel Hossain spilled an easy chance.
However only 22 runs had been added in 13 overs when James Taylor was caught behind down the leg side when hooking after struggling for 82 balls for 12. Gale went two overs later for 74 when he pulled unconvincingly at Shafiul Islam and was caught at long leg, but Davies and Chris Woakes then shared what turned out to be a valuable stand.
They added 84 for the sixth wicket before Woakes got a leading edge straight after lunch but Davies and James Harris put on 43 to give the Lions a decent lead that was turned into a match-winning one by their bowlers.
Tamim Iqbal carved Steve Kirby for six off the hands off Gale at deep point but he started the slide when a skied pull landed in the gloves of Davies. Junaed Siddique was caught behind off Woakes for a duck and the Warwickshire seamer than had Imrul Kayes pouched low at second slip before tea.
The collapse continued with Mohammad Ashraful caught down the leg side off a glove for one and Mushfiqur Rahim gave Davies another victim when he pushed at Plunkett with no foot movement.
The weakness of the Bangladesh side was shown again when Mahmudullah fell to a wild hook at Plunkett with his team only 10 runs in front, and a two-day finish was on when Bopara took three wickets in an over. But Jahural Islam battled for an unbeaten 44 and Rubel Hossain resisted for seven overs to at least take the game into the third day.