As almost everybody opined, there was no chance of Bangladesh outstaying their welcome. They would turn up, enjoy being entertained at the greatest ground in the world and then do the decent thing: collapse and wander off to Manchester with their tails between their legs. Thanks for coming chaps, glad to oblige you with a game.
Instead, the most unsung of all tourists, led joyously by their opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, took the first test to England yesterday. Ah, the beauty of sport.
Having been asked to follow on – a position in which they have been many times before and is usually the prelude to unqualified disaster – they made 328 for 5 in the second innings by the end of the fourth day.
There was to be no innings victory for England, and until they made some swift inroads with the second new ball in the late evening sunshine, it seemed they might struggle to nail any kind of victory at all. Bangladesh are now 105 runs ahead and there is still work to do.
For most of the day, the pitch retained its steadfast refusal to offer any kind of assistance to bowlers but that does not detract from Bangladesh's sense of purpose and discipline.For the third successive match they have taken England into a fifth day.
The proceedings were illuminated for nearly three hours by Tamim who made a scintillating 100 from 94 balls, one of the fastest in a Test at the ground, and the quickest by an overseas player since Mohammad Azharuddin scored 121 from 111 balls 20 years ago.
There is not much similarity between the two. Azharuddin was deft and elegant, while Tamim gives the ball a mighty club, going hard at it, never less than fearless, undaunted by reputation or circumstance. Nothing became his innings more than the reaching of the milestone.
In a single over from Tim Bresnan he carved a four through cover, clipped two through mid-wicket, drove another boundary though mid-off, and then battered four over mid-on from outside off stump.
Tamim is 21 years and 71 days old; only Denis Compton in 1939 and the Pakistani, Nasim-ul-Ghani in 1962 were younger centurions.
But it hardly mattered how old Tamim was, this was a century for the ages at any age. He was rapturous as the hundred came up, racing down the ground towards the away dressing room and signalling that he wanted his name etched on the honours board.
Tamim and Imrul Kayes, his less illustrious opening partner, shared a first wicket stand of 185, a Bangladeshi record. England knew what might be expected from Tamim, who enjoyed himself at their expense in both Test matches between the sides in Bangladesh two months ago. Imrul's resistance was less predictable but in parts he was no less brutal than his partner, seeming to adopt the old-fashioned approach of block, block, whack no matter the merit of the ball.
It inevitably raised the wisdom of England's decision to play only four bowlers but then the surface was so placid that 11 might not have been enough. Had it not been for the grim day on Saturday when grey skies allied to a touch of humidity offered the bowlers encouragement, the match might already be in a state of deadlock.
Lord's has been worryingly tame for too long. True, the Australians succumbed last year but on four occasions from 2006, England have made more than 500 in their first innings and been held to a draw, on three of them after asking the opposition to follow on. But still the crowds keep coming back for more and yet again yesterday there was a healthy attendance. Perhaps cricket followers are happy to see bowlers suffer and batsmen prosper?
Still, the absence of breakthroughs should persuade England that to persist in playing four bowlers is inadvisable. At some point in Australia this winter, if they are to retain the Ashes, they will have to take 20 opposition wickets and they may have to do so at least twice.
Their captain Andrew Strauss might have to think of an extra trick or two as well. Strauss did not exactly let the match drift and his options were limited because of the team's composition. But he is under extra scrutiny because he chose to absent himself from the tour to Bangladesh and there were occasions when his use of his three fast bowlers yesterday did not seem appropriate.
The day had started so well for England. Despite some late order dash from Bangladesh, the three wickets required were duly taken, two of them falling to Jimmy Anderson, the last to Bresnan. There was a sense that would be that.
It was not, however, until well into the afternoon that Tamim fell for the age-old ploy and hooked a bouncer from Steve Finn to backward square leg where Jonathan Trott obliged with the catch. Kayes fell into another Finn trap four overs later by popping one up to short leg.
But there was to be no more success until Jahurul Islam gave Trott his first Test wicket, the bowler taking a looping return catch off inside edge and pad. By then, Junaid Siddique had crafted his second fifty of the match.
With five overs left of an elongated day, England were able to take the second new ball. First Mohammad Ashraful was caught behind off the last ball of an exemplary over from Anderson, and then the hapless nighwatchman was bowled by Bresnan. How England needed that. They should win today, but they will be grateful to get over the line.
Key moments from the fourth day at Lord's
11.53 After some mucking about, England get the last Bangladeshi wicket and, unusually, enforce the follow-on.
12.03 Bangladesh's opening pair come out slugging. They surely cannot last long playing Test cricket as though it were Twenty20.
1.47 Imrul Kayes escapes when Graeme Swann misses a tough, low chance at slip, much to the grumpy displeasure of bowler Jimmy Anderson.
2.11 The over after the century partnership – only Bangladesh's third for the first wicket in Tests – is reached, Tamim Iqbal recording his half-century
2.12 Swann is reintroduced to stem the runs and is hit for two sixes through mid-wicket and a four through the covers by Tamim. The crowd are loving it.
2.36 Kayes reaches his first Test fifty with a four off Swann after being on 49 for 17 balls.
3.04 Tamim lends a new dimension to the nervous nineties by plundering three fours off an over from Tim Bresnan. He races down the ground and seems to suggest to his colleagues on the balcony that they see his name is etched on the honours board forthwith. It has taken 94 balls – a very special innings.
3.19 Tamim falls for three-card trick, pulling bouncer to deep-backward square
Lord's (Third and fourth days of five) Bangladesh (following on) lead England by 105 runs with five second-inning wickets remaining
Bangladesh won toss
ENGLAND First Innings 505
BANGLADESH First Innings
Overnight (Friday): 172-2
J Siddique c Prior b Finn......... 58
113 balls 9 fours
J Islam c Prior b Anderson......... 20
81 balls 2 fours
M Ashraful lbw b Finn......... 4
7 balls 1 four
*S Al Hasan c Strauss b Anderson......... 25
48 balls 3 fours
†M Rahim b Finn......... 16
59 balls 2 fours
M Mahmudullah b Anderson......... 17
39 balls 1 four
S Hossain b Anderson......... 20
17 balls 3 fours
R Hossain c Cook b Bresnan......... 9
20 balls 1 four
R Islam not out......... 9
14 balls 1 four
Extras (lb 2, w 3, nb 1)......... 6
Total (93 overs)......... 282
Fall (cont): 3-179 (Siddique), 4-185 (Ashraful), 5-191 (Islam), 6-221 (Al Hasan), 7-234 (Rahim), 8-255 (S Hossain), 9-266 (Mahmudullah), 10-282 (R Hossain).
Bowling: J Anderson 31-6-78-4 (w1) (7-1-24-0, 4-0-12-0, 3-0-12-0, 2-1-4-0, 5-1-6-1, 4-2-3-1, 6-1-17-2), T Bresnan 24-5-76-1 (w2) (5-1-25-0, 6-0-35-0, 4-1-5-0, 6-3-4-0, 2-0-4-0, 1-0-3-1), S Finn 25-5-100-4 (nb1) (4-1-16-0, 8-3-23-1, 7-1-33-2, 1-0-3-1, 5-0-25-0), G Swann 11-6-19-0 (2-1-2-0, 8-5-13-0, 1-0-4-0), Trott 2-0-7-0 (one spell).
Second Innings (following on)
T Iqbal c Trott b Finn......... 103
100 balls 15 fours 2 sixes
I Kayes c Bell b Finn......... 75
147 balls 12 fours
J Siddique not out......... 66
134 balls 7 fours
J Islam c & b Trott......... 46
97 balls 5 fours
M Ashraful c Prior b Anderson......... 21
26 balls 4 fours
S Hossain b Bresnan......... 0
*S Al Hasan not out......... 2
Extras (b 4, lb 8, w 2, nb 1)......... 15
Total (5 wkts, 85 overs)......... 328
Fall: 1-185 (Iqbal), 2-189 (Kayes), 3-289 (Islam), 4-321 (Ashraful), 5-322 (Hossain).
Bowling: J Anderson 20-6-66-1 (w1) (4-0-21-0, 3-1-14-0, 7-1-24-0, 2-2-0-0, 4-2-7-1), T Bresnan 20-5-88-1 (w1) (4-1-19-0, 7-3-36-0, 5-1-21-0, 4-0-12-1), S Finn 16-4-66-2 (nb1) (7-2-30-0, 7-2-20-2, 2-0-16-0), G Swann 25-4-80-0 (3-0-15-0, 14-3-41-0, 3-1-8-0, 5-0-16-0), J Trott 4-0-16-1 (one spell).
Progress: Third day 200 in 63.0 overs, Tea 229-6 (Rahim 11, Mahmudullah 7) in 77.0 overs. Fourth day: 250 in 83.2 overs. Second Innings: 50 in 10.0 overs, Lunch 61-0 (Tamim Iqbal 31, Imrul Kayes 30) 14.0 overs, 100 in 20.3 overs, 150 in 30.4 overs, Tea 189-2 (Junaid Siddique 0, Jahurul Islam 0) 43.0 overs, 200 in 48.0 overs, 250 in 62.3 overs, 300 in 74.5 overs, Close of Play 328-5 (Junaid Siddique 66, Shakib Al Hasan 2) 85.0 overs.
Iqbal 50: 49 balls, 8 fours. 100: 94 balls, 15 fours, 2 sixes. Kayes 50: 96 balls, 8 fours. Siddique 50: 92 balls, 5 fours.
Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) & E A R de Silva (S Lanka).
TV replay umpire : R K Illingworth
Match referee: A G Hurst (Aus).Reuse content