One of the teams in the first Test performed with the mature authority of a Test-playing nation here in Chittagong yesterday. The other exhibited the naivety and gormlessness of innocents. Bangladesh, of course, were the first and England the second. While the ultimate course of the match was unchanged, its third day was remarkable for the manner in which perceptions were altered, and nothing was as tediously predictable as it had seemed on the first two days. England led by 434 runs but this quite disguised the nature of the proceedings.
The tourists were at turns exasperated, frustrated, agitated and outplayed. Bangladesh, dire for two days, had started on the road to redemption and, although they were hardly knocking on its door, this still represented considerable progress.
After establishing a first-innings lead of 303 England decided to bat again. This seemed like an unnecessary extravagance and they were reduced in their second innings to 131 for 5, gifting wickets with all the well-practised carelessness that their opponents have shown for the past 10 years.
Perhaps England needed to allow their bowlers a rest, but that is what happens when a team decides to select four bowlers rather than five against opponents who bat much better than they bowl or field. Perhaps they wanted to avoid any prospect of batting fourth on a tame pitch which must wear some time. Perhaps they are entranced by the merits of this country's main port city and decided to continue savouring them, instead of dashing for the line and heading off post-haste to Dhaka for the second Test.
In keeping England in the field for more than 90 overs, the hosts exhibited spirit, gumption and skill. That this came to pass after the early loss of Tamim Iqbal for 86 – the highest score by a Bangladeshi against England – made it the more exceptional.
Instead of folding (that came later), Mushfiqur Rahim and Naeem Islam resisted as if they were in a Test match, a remarkable turn of events since so often they give the impression of playing permanent knockabout exhibition cricket for supporters who remain easily pleased.
Mushfiqur was compact, watchful and ready to punish anything wayward; Naeem was mostly just watchful. Together they repelled England, who dropped them both, and crafted a record eighth-wicket partnership for their country of 113.
England's four-bowler strategy did not look the shrewdest tactical stunt and all hindsight has done is confirm that initial diagnosis. Stuart Broad, whose fitness for the match was in doubt, was clearly tired by the end. Tim Bresnan bowled straight and found reverse swing and Steve Finn, the 20-year-old debutant, moved it both ways with pace and hostility. Graeme Swann finished with five wickets in an innings for the fifth time – all away – but had to work harder than he might have expected. Apart from one Kevin Pietersen over, England used only their four bowlers.
Swann put down a hard return drive from Naeem which he would have held on most days and Paul Collingwood's reprieve of Mushfiqur, shelling a second slip at regulation height, was more culpable.
Both eventually perished because of two exceptional interventions, the second of which should not have been allowed. First, Mushfiqur steered a ball through point where it eluded Michael Carberry, and set off. He and Naeem understandably assumed there were two but Carberry chased, slid, twisted and threw in a trice, and Naeem was well short of his ground.
Second, the substitute fielder, James Tredwell held on to a memorable catch off Swann from Mushfiqur's powerful slog sweep. He took off to his right and took the ball high above his head, both feet off the ground. Mushfiqur's 79 had taken 152 balls and contained 15 fours, most of them well wrought. He made 101 at this ground against India in May and his batting is becoming that of a genuine member of any Test middle order.
Bangladesh's last three wickets had fallen without addition when Swann sent a straight one through Rubel Hossain's forward push and Cook, somewhat surprisingly, dashed off the field with Carberry to don pads.
A prosaic start had led to something of more intent when Cook, miscuing a slog to leg, was caught on the boundary. There followed a parade. Jonathan Trott clipped tamely off the back foot to midwicket. Pietersen, having outlined his changed method against spin bowling because of the number of lbw verdicts umpires were minded to give these days, was promptly lbw sweeping Shakib ul Hasan. Carberry was also leg before playing with a horizontal bat and Collingwood offered a gentle chip to mid-off.
Scoreboard Chittagong Divisional Stadium
England lead Bangladesh by 434 runs with five second-innings wickets remaining
Bangladesh won toss
ENGLAND First Innings
Friday Overnight: 374-3 (Pietersen 99)
*A N Cook c & b Mahmudullah......... 173
283 balls 16 fours 2 sixes
P D Collingwood c Iqbal b Razzak......... 145
188 balls 10 fours 4 sixes
I R Bell c Hossain b Al Hasan......... 84
105 balls 9 fours
†M J Prior not out......... 0
Extras (b 6, lb 9, w 3, nb 11)......... 29
Total (6 wkts dec, 138.3 overs)......... 599
Fall: 1-72 (Carberry), 2-149 (Trott), 3-319 (Pietersen), 4-412 (Cook), 5-596 (Collingwood), 6-599 (Bell).
Did not bat: S C J Broad, G P Swann, T T Bresnan, S T Finn.
Bowling: S Hossain 17-2-73-0 (w2n b4), R Hossain 19-0-97-1 (nb6), S Al Hasan 34.3-4-133-1, N Islam 12-1-42-0, M Mahmudullah 23-1-78-2 (w1 nb1), A Razzak 31-1-157-2, A Ahmed 1-0-2-0, T Iqbal 1-0-2-0.
BANGLADESH First Innings
T Iqbal b Bresnan......... 86
124 balls 14 fours 1 six
I Kayes c Prior b Broad......... 4
9 balls 1 four
J Siddique c & b Broad......... 7
17 balls 1 four
A Ahmed c Bell b Swann......... 1
M Mahmudullah c Collingwood b Swann......... 51
64 balls 7 fours 1 six
*S Al Hasan b Swann......... 1
S Hossain c Collingwood b Finn......... 14
35 balls 2 fours
M Rahim c sub b Swann......... 79
152 balls 15 fours
†N Islam run out (Carberry)......... 38
116 balls 6 fours
Abdur Razzak not out......... 0
R Hossain b Swann......... 0
Extras (b 1, lb 12, w 1, nb 1)......... 15
Total (90.3 overs)......... 296
Fall: 1-13 (Kayes), 2-27 (Siddique), 3-51 (Ahmed), 4-145 (Mahmudullah), 5-149 (Al Hasan), 6-159 (Iqbal), 7-174 (Hossain), 8-296 (Islam), 9-296 (Rahim), 10-296 (Hossain).
Bowling: S Broad 21-4-70-2, T Bresnan 25-10-72-1 (w1), G Swann 29.3-8-90-5, S Finn 14-5-48-1 (nb1), K Pietersen 1-0-3-0.
ENGLAND Second Innings
*A N Cook c Ahmed b Mahmudullah......... 39
55 balls 3 fours
M A Carberry lbw b Razzak......... 34
89 balls 3 fours
I J L Trott c Siddique b Al Hasan......... 14
25 balls 1 four
K P Pietersen lbw b Al Hasan......... 32
24 balls 5 fours 1 six
P D Collingwood c Mahmudullah b Razzak......... 3
I R Bell not out......... 0
†M J Prior not out......... 0
Extras (b 5, lb 2, nb 2)......... 9
Total (5 wkts, 36 overs)......... 131
Fall: 1-65 (Cook), 2-87 (Trott), 3-126 (Pietersen), 4-130 (Carberry), 5-131 (Collingwood).
To bat: S C J Broad, G P Swann, T T Bresnan, S T Finn.
Bowling: S Hossain 6-0-19-0, R Hossain 5-1-25-0 (nb2), M Mahmudullah 8-0-26-1, N Islam 3-0-14-0, S Al Hasan 10-1-33-2 A Razzak 4-2-7-2.
Umpires: A L Hill (NZ) & R J Tucker (Aus).
TV replay umpire: Enamul Haque (Bangla).
Match referee: J J Crowe (NZ).Reuse content