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June 5, 2010
Ball of the day
Old Trafford has a decent history of spinners producing some special deliveries. Shane Warne tops the list in 1993, but Ashley Giles' ball to Damien Martyn in 2005 wasn't too shabby while Monty Panesar has managed a few good ones as well. However, Shakib Al Hasan's delivery to remove Ian Bell can stand proud among the best as he turned one from leg stump to take the top of off against a batsman well set on 128. For a moment it was unclear what had happened because Shakib, in complete contrast to when he removed Kevin Pietersen on the first day, barely acknowledged the dismissal after being frustrated by his team's bowling during the morning.
Sequence of the day
Tamim Iqbal was at it again. Not content with his memorable display at Lord's he again put England's attack to the sword with another hundred of the highest quality. He probably wishes he could play England all the time because his current sequence stands at six scores over fifty in seven innings. When he passed fifty he became the first Bangladesh batsman to make five half-centuries in consecutive innings. But he wasn't finished there and when he cut Graeme Swann through point to reach three figures he became the first to hit back-to-back Test hundreds as well. Only two of his countrymen have managed two hundreds in their entire careers.
Stand of the day
Century opening stands have been like London buses for Bangladesh. Wait ages for one, then two come along at once. They have only had four in their Test history, but the last couple have been back-to-back (unsurprisingly for the first time) after Tamim and Imrul Kayes followed their 185 at Lord's with 126 at Old Trafford. They are a highly contrasting pair - but the best opening combinations so often are - with Kayes happy to follow in Tamim's slipstream.
Plan of the day
England, though, are convinced that Kayes doesn't play the short ball well. The idea was set in their mind when he was bounced out on a shirtfront by Stuart Broad at Chittagong and they continue to bang the ball in. And even though Kayes has been tough to shift, he has fallen to the short-ball plan in all three innings of this series. At Lord's he fended to slip and short leg and here, against Steven Finn, he picked out long leg with precision as he top-edged a hook. It was again impressive execution from Finn, in the first over of his second spell, and a vital breakthrough for England who were really struggling.
Relief of the day
It was a rare wicketless Test for Graeme Swann at Lord's, but having seen Shakib and Abdur Razzak turn the ball square expectation was squarely on his shoulders this time around. However, his barren spell went on a little longer still as Tamim and Kayes played him well during their opening stand and it was delight mixed with relief when he got one to take Junaid Siddique's edge through to Matt Prior. Swann was then back in the groove and produced a lovely ball to remove Jahurul Islam. By the close he had another five-wicket haul.
Spell of the day
A 12-ball 5 and an opening spell of six overs for 35 meant a quiet start to Ajmal Shahzad's Test career, but that didn't last. Recalled late in the day with the ball reverse-swinging he showed what has caught the eye of Andy Flower as he ripped out three wickets in 16 balls as Bangladesh crumbled. His first Test wicket didn't come from his best ball, as Mohammad Ashraful cut to backward point, but the two deliveries to castle Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam were high-quality late swingers that would have dismissed many batsmen.
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