England v Bangladesh, Under-19 Test, Headingley, 1st day July 28, 2004

Cook gives England the ascendancy

Wisden Cricinfo staff

England U19 95 for 2 (Cook 45) trail Bangladesh U19 230 (Shamsur 68) by 135 runs

Bangladesh's Under-19s demonstrated that their senior side's new-found stickability is filtering through the age groups, as England were made to fight for the ascendancy on the opening day of the first Test at Headingley. After being reduced to 110 for 6 by Simon Cusden and Adam Harrison, Bangladesh fought back to a respectable 230, thanks to a counterattacking 68 from Shamsur Rahman, and an invaluable ninth-wicket stand between Nazmul Hossain and the captain, Enamul Haque jr.

Enamul, who played two Tests against England in the winter, bowled Bangladesh to victory over Australia in the final of the Plate Championship at the recent Under-19 World Cup, and once again he took the opportunity to demonstrate his burgeoning maturity. He made 36 from 83 balls, and Nazmul 33 from 117, as Bangladesh recovered from 143 for 8 to 221 for 9, at which point Luke Wright eventually dismissed both men.

England had won the toss and chose to bowl first in typically helpful Headingley conditions, whereupon Cusden and Harrison made the early incisions. Their former captain, Nafis Iqbal, who slapped England's senior players for a merry century in October, was removed for a fifth-ball duck, and Aftab Ahmed, another man to feature in the Bangladesh squad in that series, fell for 6.

Wickets fell at steady intervals thereafter, although Shamsur remained steadfast, and put away the bad deliveries while his team-mates struggled. When he eventually became Harrison's second victim of the innings, Bangladesh were staring at disaster at 143 for 8, but the tail wagged to excellent effect.

Bangladesh's mood improved even more when Joe Denly fell to his third delivery in England's reply, and when Alistair Cook followed late in the day for an excellent 45, Bangladesh were still in the game at 95 for 2. Cook's Essex team-mate, Ravinder Bopara, finished the day unbeaten on 31.