Stubborn Bangladesh halt England victory

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The Independent Online

England's hopes of a four-day finish in the first Test against Bangladesh were dashed by a gutsy sixth-wicket stand but the result remained in little doubt.

Having set their opponents a mammoth 513-run chase, England had them five down at tea and sensed an early finish to proceedings.



But Junaid Siddique, who faced 199 balls for his unbeaten 68, and Mushfiqur Rahim (47no) held firm as the tourists toiled for two luckless hours without success in the evening session.



Bangladesh reached the close on 191 for five on a pitch that now looks entirely placid, though England will know the tail is in sight.



England's first objective in the morning was to add some quick runs to an already prohibitive lead but Matt Prior (seven) managed only one clean hit before skying a catch off Shakib Al Hasan.



That brought Ian Bell and the promoted Graeme Swann together and the scoreboard soon began to get a workout.



Bell (39no) hit four boundaries before smashing Abdur Razzak for a glorious straight six, with Swann chipping in with three fours in a breezy cameo worth 32.



Alastair Cook did not immediately call his men in after they eased the lead to 500, but when Swann fell switch-hitting at 209 for seven the decision was made.



Soon after retaking the field Stuart Broad thought he had Imrul Kayes lbw, though the impact was closer to shoulder than pad after the batsman ducked one that kept low.



Umpire Tony Hill thought deeply but correctly judged the ball had pitched outside leg.



Despite hints of variable bounce Tamim Iqbal and Imrul looked calm against the seamers, so Swann was quickly introduced.



Though he did not add to his remarkable record of taking wickets in his first over, he bowled Tamim (14) with a fine delivery in his second, turning it past the batsman's outside edge and clipping off stump.



Imrul followed for 23 three balls before lunch, nicking Steven Finn to wicketkeeper Prior to make it 45 for two at the break.



Aftab Ahmed and Junaid both failed in the first innings and looked determined to make better impressions here.



Each played Swann well, while the trio of seamers were finding little in the pitch to offer assistance.



Of the two, Aftab appeared most fluent and he flicked Broad to the mid-wicket ropes with a flourish when his line strayed.



But after a 54-run stand Bresnan snared Aftab (26) on the drive, with Prior accepting a simple catch.



Mahmudullah came and went for five when Bresnan located just enough sideways movement to sneak between bat and bad and shatter the stumps.



By now England's momentum was tangible and home captain Shakib could not halt it.



Instead he fell lbw sweeping Swann on five, though there was a hint of glove on the way through.



Mushfiqur, scorer of a measured 79 in the first innings, was Junaid's new partner at 110 for five and between them they dampened any expectation of a swift finish.



Mushfiqur was noticeably more restrained than usual, while Junaid was stuck in the late forties for what seemed like an age until he lifted Swann over mid-off for a sixth Test half-century.



Mushfiqur, who offered a half-chance to Michael Carberry in the deep, briefly emerged from his shell too, dispatching an out-of-sorts Broad for two boundaries in four balls.



With his frontline bowlers all struggling for ideas, Cook turned to Jonathan Trott's occasional medium pace.



The ploy almost paid off as Mushfiqur relaxed enough to slash uppishly through gully, but he was just safe and added four more to his tally.



Swann wheeled away for a total of 29 overs in search of some bite but could not add to his pair of wickets.



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