Ashraful top-scores as seamers dominate

Essex 83 for 2 v Bangladesh

The combination of a greenish pitch and indiscipline were the key factors in Bangladesh being bowled out for a modest 231 by Essex at Chelmsford. In complete contrast to the friendly batting conditions they experienced in their recent match against Surrey at The Oval, the tourists were made to fight hard for runs.

Jahural Islam, a century maker at the Oval, was quickly made aware of the pitch's capacity to help bowlers who employed a full length. He was still seeking to get off the mark when a delivery from Maurice Chambers cut back prodigiously to uproot the leg stump.

And before the 50 was raised Tony Palladino produced deliveries that moved enough to send the off stump out of the ground to get rid of Imrul Kayes and Junaid Siddique. The best and most positive batting came from Mohammad Ashraful, whose innings of 58 contained a series of well executed square cuts and drives among his 12 boundaries.

But just when he seemed destined for a substantial contribution he fell victim to a wild swing against Max Osborne to provide Adam Wheater with a simple catch. Soon afterwards Mahmudullah was also guilty of a loose shot to cover point having played himself in, his dismissal coming at a time when Bangladesh needed him to show greater restraint.

A last wicket stand of 35 during which Shahadat Hossain dispatched fast bowler Michael Comber for three sixes earned the tourists respectability. Chambers ended the fireworks by bowling Hossain for 33 to finish with figures of four wickets for 32 runs from 15.4 overs.

The fast bowler was by far the most impressive of those used by Essex, whose side was captained by Grant Flower and included just three players who appeared in the County Championship Division One match against Kent which finished 24 hours earlier.

Palladino's three wickets came at a cost of 91 from 23 overs while Comber and Osborne, another youngster making his first-class debut, conceded 104 between them in 21 overs. But the bowlers were hardly helped by fielding lapses as three catches, two of them far from difficult, were put down.

Robiul Islam was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers when Essex replied, finding the edge to have Billy Godleman caught at second slip before Jaik Mickleburgh edged to the wicketkeeper when chasing a delivery he need not have played. He also had John Maunders dropped at deep square leg, the opener going on to close on 54 out of a total of 83 for 2. His innings contained two pulled sixes at the expense of Shafiul Islam.

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Essex 4th innings Partnerships

1st6JK MaundersBA Godleman
2nd29BA GodlemanJC Mickleburgh
3rd2MJ WalkerJC Mickleburgh
4th34MJ WalkerTJ Phillips
5th7GW FlowerTJ Phillips
6th52GW FlowerAJA Wheater