ENGLAND SHRUG OFF BANGLADESH REVIVAL IN CHITTAGONG
First Test, Chittagong (day three, stumps):
Bangladesh 296 v England 599-6 dec & 131-5
England were made to work hard in the field by the Bangladesh lower order
By Harry Reekie
England put themselves in a winning position after day three of the first Test having survived a mini-fightback from Bangladesh in Chittagong.
The omens looked bleak for the hosts when Tamim Iqbal fell for 86, but Naeem Islam and Mushfiqur Rahim showed pride to put on 113 for the eighth wicket.
But Graeme Swann (5-90) ran through the tail as the Tigers fell to 296 all out.
Having not enforced the follow on, England raced to 131-5 at the close, a lead of 434 with two days remaining.
The decision not to make Bangladesh bat again surprised many at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium but with time on his side, no weather concerns and some tired bowlers heading for the ice buckets, Alastair Cook probably took the sensible option.
Despite a below-par batting display second time round, an England win seems almost inevitable barring a remarkable fourth innings from the hosts but Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons certainly did see some visible improvements with the bat on Sunday.
Mushfiqur and Naeem showed considerable courage and ability in holding off Cook's bowlers throughout much of the morning and afternoon sessions. After such a poor display in the match so far, it was a partnership that offered some much-needed belief.
Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur showed great spirit to frustrate the England bowlers
In truth, any lingering hopes of a Bangladesh fightback were extinguished after only 16 balls of day three when Tamim's one-man stand was ended in textbook fashion.
Tim Bresnan produced a beautiful delivery that angled in from around the wicket and jagged away off the pitch, clipping the top of the left-hander's off stump.
It was a near perfect dismissal and, as Bangladesh's best batsman lumbered back to the pavilion 14 short of a century, England sensed a rout.
Umpire Rod Tucker nearly gave the tourists another boost shortly after when Shahadat Hossain was given out despite not hitting a bouncer and Matt Prior dropping the ball behind the stumps.
Thankfully, the Australian quickly reversed his decision, not that Shahadat's stay of execution lasted long as he promptly edged Steve Finn to the safe hands of Paul Collingwood at slip for the youngster's first Test wicket.
That rout suddenly loomed large as England fielders moved in on the two new batsmen but Mushfiqur and Naeem held firm against the odds.
Aside from Tamim and Mahmudullah's fierce cameos the previous evening, it was the first genuine partnership from the hosts and refreshing to see for everyone – aside from a small pocket of England supporters.
More so, it served to remind the sparse crowd in Chittagong that a contest was actually taking place for the first time since Shakib Al Hasab's ill-advised decision to field on the first morning.
England's spirits were lifted when the second new ball arrived and Stuart Broad immediately tempted Mushfiqur into an edge but watched in despair as Collingwood, of all people, shelled a simple catch at second slip.
That enabled the partnership to edge past 100 but just when England looked under pressure for the first time in the game, a brilliant piece of fielding from Michael Carberry saw the end of Naeem for 38.
The Hampshire batsman, recognised as one of the best fielders on the county circuit, slid and returned the ball in the blink of an eye and the all-rounder was left trailing.
Swann chipped away to claim his fifth five-wicket haul in Test cricket
Sadly the old habits then quickly returned for Bangladesh when the excellent Mushfiqur (79) fell the very next ball, chipping Swann to midwicket where substitute fielder James Tredwell took a quite brilliant one-handed catch diving to his right.
The effort was made all the more impressive as the Kent spinner had only arrived on the field for that delivery.
An impressive Swann then wrapped up the innings by bowling Rubel Hossain two balls later for his fifth five-wicket Test haul – giving England a massive lead of 303.
But with a flagging bowling attack, Cook opted against enforcing the follow-on and set about boosting the already sizeable advantage by batting again.
The England captain fell on the boundary attempting to push on while Jonathan Trott did little to impress before being caught at midwicket.
Kevin Pietersen wasted no time in reaching 32 before he was trapped in front by the left-arm spin of Shakib while Razzak dismissed Carberry in the same manner.
And although England also lost Collingwood just before the close and ended the day on something of a disappointing note five down, their lead should already be more than sufficient to ensure a comfortable win when a second declaration follows on Monday.