Cricket: Bangladesh battered by Lloyd and Fairbrother

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ENGLAND'S ONE-DAY XI completed their preparations for the Wills International Cup by beating the host nation, Bangladesh, by 36 runs at the BKSP Stadium in Dhaka in front of a crowd of 10,000 yesterday.

England were put in and found themselves in early trouble at 68 for 4 before Graham Lloyd and his Lancashire colleague, Neil Fairbrother, rescued matters with a stand of 98 in 18 overs. Lloyd hit 61 off 66 balls with seven fours while Fairbrother weighed in with 48 off 72 deliveries with just one boundary hit - a mighty six off the Bangladesh skipper, Aminul Islam.

Late-order runs from the captain, Adam Hollioake, Jack Russell and Ashley Giles helped England reach 229 for 9 in their 50 overs with the slow left- arm spinner Mohammad Rafique returning 5 for 47.

Bangladesh made a promising start to their reply and, with Javed Omar hitting 36 and Faruque Ahmed 28, they reached 103 for 2 at one stage. Then Dougie Brown turned the game in England's favour with a spell of 4 for 8 in 30 balls. After that the game faded away with Ashley Giles weighing in with three wickets, but there was just time for Aminul to complete his half century. He eventually finished unbeaten on 60 as Bangladesh closed on 193 for 9.

Before the game, Hollioake challenged the fringe players in the squad to stake a claim for a World Cup place. The captain, whose side face South Africa in the quarter- finals of the Wills International Cup here tomorrow, believes that there are only two or three places still up for grabs in the battle to become part of the 14-strong squad for world cricket's showpiece. But he has laid down the gauntlet to the likes of Brown and Lloyd to show that they are worth a place.

England have a long schedule of limited-overs cricket ahead of them before the World Cup gets underway in May. But Hollioake said: "I do believe we have the nucleus of a squad that can go a long way in the World Cup, that can be there or thereabouts in the final shake-up. I think there are 10 or 11 names out of the final 14 which will virtually pick themselves. There are probably up only two or three positions up for grabs.

"I think that will be the case unless someone plays really badly and has a major loss of form or gets injured," the Surrey all-rounder added.

"Then the picture might alter slightly but not otherwise. That is why this competition is more important to the fringe players. If someone has a really fantastic tournament then they can put themselves in the picture.

n Curtly Ambrose has pulled out of West Indies' limited-overs squad for the Wills International Cup. The veteran Northamptonshire fast bowler asked if he could miss the tournament "due to a matter of grave importance which needs his urgent personal attention". Ambrose is reported to be dealing with hurricane damage to his home in Antigua.

LIMITED-OVERS INTERNATIONAL (Dhaka): England 229 for 9 (50 overs, G Lloyd 61; Mohammad Rafique 5-47); Bangladesh 193 for 9. England win by 36 runs.