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May 27, 2010
Jamie Siddons has witnessed plenty of disappointing days in his three years as Bangladesh coach, so he was in a phlegmatic mood as he assessed the damage done to their prospects on the first day of the Lord's Test. A close score of 362 for 4 was not as grim as it had threatened to be at one stage when Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott were in full flow, but once again, he was left to rue the inexperience of his young attack.
"We wanted to bowl in good areas, put some pressure on the batsmen, and make them make some mistakes. But I don't think they had to take any risks today," said Siddons. "We didn't put enough balls in the right spot. We probably bowled eight maidens for the day and in Test cricket that's nowhere near good enough. I think our fast bowlers really let the side down today."
Bangladesh's hopes of competing had been given an early boost when Shakib Al Hasan won the toss under heavy cloud cover, and chose to bowl - a decision that not only gave his team a chance to push for early breakthroughs but also spared his batsmen the prospect of facing James Anderson and Steven Finn on a zippy surface. But by mid-afternoon, all such help from the heavens had gone, and all that remained was a long hot day of toil.
"I guess looking out at the ground half an hour into the game, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for batting," said Siddons. "The ball didn't swing as much as we thought, or maybe the bowlers didn't stand the ball up on the seam as much as they should have, and it went downhill from there pretty much.
"The skill to put the ball in the right areas often enough, under the pressure of a Test match at Lord's or just a Test match against England over here, it was very difficult for them. A couple of their batsmen made mistakes and gave us a few wickets, and you end with four for a lot of runs at the end of the day."
Of the three-man pace attack, only Shadahat Hossain had played at Lord's before, having toured as a rookie back in 2005, while Robiul Islam was making his Test debut. "I'm sure they weren't trying to bowl half-volleys and short balls outside off-stump but they certainly bowled a lot of them," said Siddons. "Look, two wickets in a hurry tomorrow, work hard for the rest, bat well in the first innings, and you never know. But we are a long way back."
Siddons was impressed, however, with the discipline shown by Trott, who had endured a tough tour of Bangladesh, where accidents and anxieties curtailed most of his innings before they had been fully formed. "He was really patient, but the bowling was quite poor today," he said. "He didn't try to step up the pace at all but he's still ended up with 175 at the end of the day.
"Good on him for persevering, sticking at it and making sure he was still there at the end of the day. I thought he batted really well."
Bangladesh's main threat, once again, came from their captain, Shakib Al Hasan, who has been suffering from chicken pox and only resumed full training earlier this week. "He's a bit tired, he's still recovering and trying to get his energy back from his illness," said Siddons. "But he'll be right tomorrow to go again."
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