Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Swann and Tredwell put pressure on Bangladesh

A wicket apiece for Graeme Swann and James Tredwell during the afternoon session left Bangladesh under pressure with the lead standing at a slender 38 on the fourth day. The key scalp was again Tamim Iqbal who backed-up his first-innings 85 with a more sedate 52, adding 63 for the second wicket with Junaid Siddique, before the spinners made their mark. Swann claimed Tamim and, shortly before tea, Tredwell removed Siddique when a back-foot drive crashed into Alastair Cook's boot at silly point and looped back to the bowler.

Tamim was given three lives in his short, but enterprising innings. The first came shortly after Bangladesh began their second innings facing a tricky period of eight overs before the lunch interval. Tredwell was brought on for an early twirl and immediately found some purchase off the wicket to graze the edge of his bat, but the deflection bounced out of Matt Prior's gloves and a tumbling Paul Collingwood on slip could not hold on either.

Imrul Kayes, on the other hand, was desperately unlucky in his dismissal. Stuart Broad, coming around the wicket, slanted the ball down the leg side and Kayes shuffled across to shape for a glance, but the ball ricocheted off his oversized thigh pad, completely changing direction to curl onto the stumps and disturb the bails as the first wicket fell with the score at 23.

Unperturbed, Tamim continued in a positive vein but almost paid the price when, on 26, he charged down the track to Tredwell and slammed the ball very hard at a catchable height back to the bowler. The ball slipped through his fingers, and in an eventful over Tamim cracked a lofted drive over mid off and then miscued a repeated attempt at the shot, but the ball fell safely in the outfield.

With Junaid trundling along steadily at the other end, Bangladesh had reduced their deficit to four when Tamim was dropped a third time off Tredwell - and this one was by far the easiest of the lot. He swished wildly and the ball looped gently towards Jonathan Trott at point but he somehow managed to let the ball slip through his fingers.

Tamim's luck finally ran out shortly after he had brought up his second half century of the match as he slashed at Swann and Broad held on to a regulation chance at point. Jahurul Islam strode out to the middle on a pair in his first Test, with Bangladesh at 86 for 2, and got off the mark in emphatic style by lofting his sixth ball high over long on. His next scoring shot was another maximum as he mowed Tredwell back over his head.

In the second bizarrely unlucky dismissal of the day, Junaid - who had settled in nicely - went back to Tredwell and forced the ball firmly off the back foot and straight onto Cook's foot at silly mid off. The ball popped gently back to Tredwell and Junaid fell to a singularly peculiar caught and bowled. Mahmudullah started his innings with an elegantly executed cut, but Bangladesh went to tea effectively at 38 for 3 and will be put under severe pressure in the evening session.

England had extended their lead to 77 in the morning, as their innings was finally wrapped up for 496. Tim Bresnan took his ninth-wicket partnership with Tredwell to 47 in a turgid first hour of play before he fell for 91, skipping down the pitch to Abdur Razzak in the first real display of intent only to be beaten in the flight and by the turn as the ball bit into the surface and Mushfiqur Rahim completed a smart stumping.

His dismissal enlivened what had been a grinding effort from England, as the batsmen had been content to settle for a run rate of under three an over. After Bresnan departed, Tredwell started to up the ante, with a brace of boundaries off Shakib Al Hasan coming courtesy of meaty lofted swipes to midwicket. He added a deft glance to fine leg as Razzak erred in line, but then charged down the wicket to the same bowler only to be beaten in similar fashion to Bresnan. Once again Mushfiqur had the bails off in a flash to bring England's innings to a close.


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