England v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 1st day June 4, 2010

Bell battles to keep England on top


Close England 275 for 5 (Bell 87*, Prior 21*) v Bangladesh
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Bangladesh's bowlers followed the example of their batsman at Lord's last week, and rose to the occasion on the first day at Old Trafford with a disciplined and diligent performance, backed up by superb fielding, to deny England the chance to establish the sort of platform from which they were able to boss the first Test. Thanks to Ian Bell, who contributed another timely innings from his fruitful berth in the middle order, England were able to finish the day with their noses in front on 275 for 5, but on a firm and true surface, and in some of the best batting conditions of the summer so far, this was far from the breeze that had been anticipated when Andrew Strauss won the toss.

By the time bad light brought about an early close, Bell was 87 not out from 171 balls, 13 adrift of what would be his third century in six Tests against Bangladesh. Like his 138 at Dhaka back in March, however, this was a vital innings that belied his (admittedly fading) reputation for soft runs, and without it, England could well have been in some trouble. After their floundering performance with the ball at Lord's, Bangladesh had chosen to purge their seam attack, with Robiul Islam and Rubel Hossain both discarded, and into the fray came the impressive Shafiul Islam, who struck twice in an incisive new-ball spell in the first hour of the day, and the left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, who dismissed Alastair Cook with his first ball of the series, and deserved better rewards than his eventual figures of 1 for 67 from 21 overs.

With the sun on their backs and a more familiar spin-dominant line-up, Bangladesh settled into the sort of rhythm that they had shown during their home series against England, with the added bonus of a wicket that offered the sort of turn and bounce that they'd never see in Dhaka or Chittagong. With Shakib Al Hasan and Razzak bowling in tandem in a fine spell after tea, England were limited to 29 runs in 16 overs before Matt Prior opened the floodgates with a brace of fours off Razzak - one of which could and should have been caught at slip as Junaid Siddique reacted late to a thick edge. On 18, Prior then survived a raucous appeal for lbw that might well have been overturned had the review system been in place for this match. But Prior lived on, to reach 21 not out at the close.

All in all, it was not the sort of scoreline that England had expected, but to Bangladesh's credit, they used their resources cannily, and kept all the batsman guessing as they beat the bat on both sides on a wicket that will doubtless keep Graeme Swann interested when his opportunity comes later in the match. Kevin Pietersen, in particular, discovered this to his cost, as he was stitched up a treat by his nemesis in Tests, Shakib, who claimed his wicket for the fourth time in as many matches, to bring a flamboyant end an entertaining and aggressive innings.

Pietersen's approach in this series has been a far cry from the tentative return to form that he produced in Bangladesh, and after reaching a 73-ball fifty with a series of thumping strikes in the V between long-off and -on, he seemed in a hurry to reach his first hundred against these opponents. Shakib, however, was equal to his ambitions. Moments after being drilled through the covers for four, he held his delivery back a touch through the air, and Pietersen was stumped by six paces as the ball spat past his edge and into the gloves of Mushfiqur Rahim.

Shakib could and should have earned a second wicket in a fine attacking spell, when on 36, Bell edged a good-length turner, only for the ball to rebound unchallenged off Mushfiqur's knee. But that was the only real chance that Bell offered in a disciplined 171-ball innings. Eoin Morgan also offered one opportunity, in the fifth over after tea, but unfortunately for him, his cramped cut at Shahadat picked out Jahurul Islam in the gully, who clung on one-handed with an outstanding dive to his right. After adding 70 for the fifth wicket to revive England from 153 for 4, Morgan was on his way for 37, another half-formed Test innings to add to his Lord's 44.

The principal performer in the morning session had been Shafiul, who was overlooked for the Lord's Test despite showing glimpses of his ability back home during England's recent visit. He pitched the ball up as a default tactic, finding a decent pace in the high 80s to offset a mediocre first spell from the Lord's hero, Shahadatr, and kept the left-handers Strauss and Alastair Cook on their toes by intermittently switching his line from over to round the wicket.

His determination paid off in the 12th over of the day, as Strauss succumbed to an excellent rising delivery that angled across his bows, snicked the edge, and flew hard and fast to Imrul Kayes at second slip. Six balls later, Shafiul added his second, as Trott followed up his double-century at Lord's by falling victim to an excellent bustling delivery that wormed its way off an inside-edge into the top of middle stump. Trott looked stunned at the dismissal, and took his time to react, but he had gone for 3 from five balls, and at 48 for 2, England were in a touch of strife.

Their uncertainty was compounded with 15 minutes of the morning session remaining, when Cook poked injudiciously at Razzak's first delivery and snicked a regulation edge to Junaid Siddique at slip, and Razzak could well have added a second straightway, had Shakib thought to post a short leg to the incoming Bell. By the time he called upon the extra fielder, however, a looping bat-pad opportunity had already been and gone. With Shafiul struggling through thereafter with cramp, Bangladesh's effectiveness was dented in the afternoon session, but their determination was undimmed, and by the close they were very much in the contest.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jackie on June 8, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    A number made the same point about Bell being out if a short leg had been in place. Two things to think about. Bell has dominated Bangladesh in all his innings but one so the fielding places show the kind of respect he has earned. He has pushed his fielders back in other words to the opening bowlers. Secondly Bell must have been aware there was no short leg so no risk there. Wouldn't he play accordingly? He was probably watching for real danger areas. If a short leg had been in place Bell is likely to have defended with that in mind. It is really not possible to concur that any batsman would be out to a catch by a fielder not there.

  • shane on June 5, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    @Bang_la Mate i m no indian and yeah rit on india is no good either they are rubbish as well without a doubt..

  • Michael on June 5, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    Interested to read feedback to my posting. I was paying BD fans a sort of compliment-and yes, Eng have been pretty dire vs Australia for a long time till 2005. As I said you fans deserve better.About remarks concerning the makeup of the England side, england is a very very multicultural country, a melting pot if you like. There are quite a lot of Bangledishis here as well as indians, Paks, Sri L's. Because of easy working laws many peopel come here for a better life-strange when you cionsider the weather- and this is a good thing mostly. As for South africans in the side, a source of mirth and /or controversy to some at least 2 of the people named are spurious to the argument-Prior and Strauss. Many South africans have English parents/grandparents- Pietersen, Trott. Also we have only a 4 year residential qualification for cricket. These guys get selected because they have talent, a lot of it. Seems fair. Morgan is Irish plying his trade in UK. And is he not worth the gate money?

  • Bang on June 5, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    @Bingaaa, the indian in disguise. Tell me of a major series for last 5 years where India played anything close to Australia! I was joking the other day that Raina was copying Shakib, "We have to learn from our mistakes and improve." Dhoni almost echos same line everytime competent opponents pulls off Indian pants. Why this for a super-team? Starting playing cricket in 30s, India had such sorry progress in international cricket that had there been no big money powerhouse, based on huge consumers' market and the Indian cricketers were not needed to make stars to appear as models for those consumeables, by now India's name would have been written on water, quite Shelly-itely! :)

  • Walid on June 5, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    @ overrated_india - i am totally agree with you.....

  • Sarwar on June 5, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    I think you guys are correct about the ability of the bd team. They are very young team to play in the highest level of competition but they are learning quickly. If they can do little better day by day then it will boost their temparament eventually they can defend any better side. Only few players have to be careful about their shot selection especially Ash and Shakib. They should not improvise their shots at the earlier stage what they can do at the later stage after set. I think they should realize from their past errors.

    As regards of umpiring, I can say that's why English team has not taken referel in this series. I heard from the commentry that umpires are always careful about the better sides decision.

  • hosni on June 5, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    and when people say there are no world class players in bd team it makes me sad...just look at the ind team playing in the try nations..guys there aren't doing well because there r no senior crics with them..their r no guidence...just lok at suresh raina..he is not being able to cope up with the presure..so think how much presure sakib al hassan has 2 go through..and still he is performing consistently.. i am not saying tamim is on the same class of jaysuria or gilcrist but if he played 4 a proper team with proper senior cricketers he would have been much better then a breanden mackullam..and i'm not saying sakib would have been as good as jack kallis or kapil dev..but still playing 4 bangladesh with the expectation of 140 million people and with no proper senior player he is a much better allrounder then many premier alrounder playing in world cricket..and if he had the chance of playing 4 england..he would have been much much much much better then a certain grame swan

  • shane on June 5, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    Funny reading all these comments by the bangladesh fans..To be honest bangladesh are just rubbish as a test team..They talk about improving but they have never really improved they have just get a slog player going like tamim it was ashraful for a time that he was making some runs..Its time that their test status is taken away so that teams dont get to try out new players n make their marks against a rubbish side..Even our aussie school team could beat them by a margin..

  • hosni on June 5, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    i don know y eng fans r banging their heads for..Eng will win this series 2-0 and anybody who knows anything about cricket knows this,the spotlight wasn't on eng,it was on bd to see how far they can push eng..and they have done exceptionally well..And coming 2 ind..i still think india is the most overrated team of all but that doesn't mean they will be as bad as bd..if we just look at the zim 3 nations what significants can we see in the ind team?..they r no short of tallent,only think missing in this team is the guidance of their senior players,no matter how talented u r u need 2 have seniors in ur team..so ind is losing..now look at bd..they have the same prob since their birth in tests,no one have been consistent enough to hold his place in the team and thats why one after one young boy is thorn in the int area..and they cant cope on..now at last some guys r doing well and in future if this guys can hold onto their place and with new raw talent..bd will do well enough

  • Shafkat on June 5, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    A good day of cricket. No body is running away with the game, which is a good omen for Bangladesh. BD in ENG was supposed to be a cake walk for England in bother tests. So far Lord's wasn't the case and after the 1st day at Old Trafford we all cricket lovers hope that it will be another good test match to watch. There were stars in both teams (Shafiul and Bell) but none of them will be judged just based on this game. To all the hard core supports from both sides, my excitement is due to the fact that I want to sit and watch the game. Bangladesh is here to stay and it is good for test cricket for all cricket playing nations. Looking forward to some more good cricket for next 4 days.

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