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Today at the Test - Day 2

Today at the Test - Day 2

Paul Edwards looks back on an eventful second day's play in the Old Trafford Test.

At Old Trafford: 2nd npower Test Match: 2nd Day of Five: Bangladesh, 216 all out, trail England, 419, by 203 runs
 
A good friend of mine, Alan Morton, used to open the batting for Warwickshire 2nds in the early sixties. On a few occasions, he did so with John Jameson, who later played four Tests for England.

Now Jameson liked to get on with it, and on one occasion he was giving the opposition bowlers a fearful leathering when he and Mort had a very brief midwicket conference. I say "conference" although it actually consisted of five words, all of them spoken by Jameson: "Don't try to copy me," he said, with quiet authority. He really needn't have worried; Mort had far too much sense to try. This anecdote crossed my mind as I watched the precociously daring Tamim Iqbal flog the England attack to all parts on his way to a second successive Test century this afternoon.

When a batsman's innings is so spectacular, the best advice to give to his partner is: "Play your own game and, for God's sake, don't run him out ! " Well, Imrul Kayes managed the second bit alright and he was dealing with the other part of the job too, until he attempted to hook a fast, high, straight bouncer from Steven Finn and gave a straightforward catch to Ajmal Shahzad at long leg.

By then, however, Keyes and Tamim had shared a partnership of 126 for the first wicket in 104 minutes and, as at Lord's, their cricket was gloriously refreshing. The pair put on 47 in the first seven overs of the innings and Tamim reached his half century in 43 balls with a six over long on off Graeme Swann. By tea, Bangladesh had reached 96-0 off 18 overs and Andrew Strauss had opted to set a deep field for Tamim, a tactic which partly explains why the opener scored only eleven fours in his 100-ball century. No matter. The opener became the first Bangladeshi to score successive Test hundreds with a cut off Swann and an Old Trafford crowd of just less than 12,000 rose to acclaim the feat.

Sadly for Shakib's side, Keyes's dismissal also marked the start of a rapid collapse which saw Bangladesh lose all their wickets for 90 runs in 30.2 overs in an extraordinary post-tea session, five batsman succumbing to Swann, who got the ball to grip and turn in the course of a 15.1-over spell from the Stretford End, and three to Ajmal Shahzad, who celebrated becoming the fifth Yorkshireman to make his Test debut at Old Trafford by removing Ashraful, Mahmudullah and Shafiul in the space of 16 balls late in the evening session.

The prize wicket of Tamim, though, fell to Jimmy Anderson, who took one for 12 in an impressive second spell and had the opener caught by Prior when he edged an attempted cut. Since Bangladesh's final wicket fell when there were only 11 balls left in the day, Strauss was able to postpone any decision on whether to enforce the follow-on until Sunday morning. Swann finished with five for 76, his first five-wicket haul in a home Test and his seventh in 20 five-day games for England.

All of which seemed to take place a very long time after a morning's play which was characterised by Test cricket's remorseless toughness as England built a large total by adding 124 in 29.4 overs.

Bell reached his eleventh Test hundred (and his third in five matches against Bangladesh) with a cut for three off Razzak. At one stage, the Coventry batsman seemed set on overhauling his Test best of 199 but he was beaten by a beautiful ball from Shakib which pitched on middle and leg and clipped the top of off stump (And it was not only the classical quality of the delivery that made Bell's dismissal a throwback to the 1950s. Shakib greeted his success with only a modest grin and Mushfiqur did nothing more celebratory than begin to reconstruct the wicket; it rekindled memories of Jim Laker modestly hitching up his flannels as he took 19-90 against Australia in 1956.  Nowadays, Monty Panesar celebrates a wicket by gallumphing around as though someone had just set his jockstrap on fire; Andre Nel dismisses a batsman and looks as though he'd like to declare war on someone).

I digress. Swann made a breezy 20 but was lbw to Razzak's quicker ball on the point of lunch and England went in for something isotonic on 399-7, Prior 80 not out.

The home side's hopes of piling up the sort of score that would limit the need for them to bat again declined rapidly after the interval. Shahzad spooned a drive off Shakib to Razzak at cover and the Bangladeshi captain claimed the last two wickets when Prior opted to reverse sweep on 93 but only clipped the ball to Jahurul at point, and Finn was lbw second ball. That left Shakib with figures of 5-121 from his 37.3 overs. Some captains make the mistake of underbowling themselves: this, at any rate, is a danger which the skipper of Bangladesh seems determined to avoid. Mahmudullah (12-1-31-0) might well analyse the matter somewhat differently.

Scorecard  I  Today at the Test - Day 1


Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images


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