England on top at Lord's despite rain delays

England 505 v Bangladesh 237-7

Steven Finn led the way on his home ground as England's seamers made the most of the time available on a weather-interrupted third day of the first npower Test against Bangladesh at Lord's.

England, who had managed only two Bangladesh wickets for 172 in reply to 505 yesterday, were frustrated by rain until 3.20pm.

Bad light then ate up another 21 of the 50 overs scheduled, but the pace attack was much more on its mettle this time, reducing Bangladesh to 237 for seven at stumps and putting them under pressure to avoid the follow-on tomorrow.

On his home Test debut, Finn (four for 75) began the Bangladesh slide with two wickets in eight balls from his favoured pavilion end in much-improved bowling conditions which put seam and swing movement back on the agenda.

He produced a convincing reprise of the extra elements Steve Harmison used to bring to the England attack, thereby stating an obvious early case for inclusion in plans for Australia next winter.

Steepling bounce and a tight line at more than 80mph did for Junaid Siddique, who could add only five to his overnight 53 before Finn got one to run over the face of his bat for a caught behind.

Mohammad Ashraful appeared a little unlucky to go lbw to a full ball which might have cleared leg stump, but there was no arguing with James Anderson's first Test wicket of the summer.

Anderson produced a near-perfect delivery shaping to swing up the hill to the watchful Jahurul Islam only to nip away off the seam and kick to take the outside edge for another Matt Prior catch.

Shakib Al Hasan then had some early luck against Finn in particular, and there were some close calls too for Mushfiqur Rahim.

But Bangladesh's sixth-wicket pair did an admirable job in a decidedly awkward spot, adding a valuable 30.

Anderson gave nothing away but runs came at an acceptable rate at the other end, mostly behind the wicket through attacking fields, until the Lancashire seamer - having switched ends to replace Finn - found Shakib's outside edge and saw Andrew Strauss collect a chance which had slipped from a juggling Prior's grasp.

There was very nearly a bonus wicket for England in a solitary over from occasional medium-pacer Jonathan Trott just before tea, Mahmudullah edging an attempted drive just wide of gully for four.

But England's prospects of dominating the remainder of the match, and pushing for victory in quick time, had increased significantly anyhow.

In the 4.5 overs possible between interruptions after tea, the lack of floodlights came into focus under darkening skies.

Even though they were nominally available for this series, MCC and the England and Wales Cricket Board decided they should not be used in the event of bad light for two reasons.

There will be none available for the second and final Test at Old Trafford, so consistency was favoured through the series, and since Lord's is allowed to use them for only 12 days a year under planning agreements, those days are being kept in reserve for later in the summer.

England did manage one evening wicket, Finn trimming Mushfiqur's bails with a very good ball, but might have had several more had they not been confined to the dressing room.

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