Shamik Das

Monday, May 31, 2010

England made to pay for lack of respect


Lord’s, first Test, day 4: Bangladesh 328/5 (Tamim Iqbal 103, Imrul Kayes 75, Junaid Siddique 66*) & 282 (Anderson 4-78) lead England 505 by 105 runs

TWO late wickets with the new ball saw England snatch probable victory from the tiger-fanged jaws of an unthinkable draw yesterday.

Mohammad Ashraful and Shahadat Hossain fell in the last five overs to hand the initiative back to England after a day in which Bangladesh’s batsmen dominated a directionless, insipid attack about which serious questions will be asked.

Victorious World Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad were rested for this match, which the England management, fans and even players regarded as an unwanted diversion from more lucrative and challenging future competitions. It is an attitude unlikely to rear its head again.

And it’s not just Bangladesh the England establishment are failing to respect - Pakistan appear to be playing second-fiddle to the following winter’s battles. Writing in the match programme, MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw said England “will want a strong showing in the summer to prepare for the Ashes...”

Kevin-Pietersen-Lords-30-05-10    Kevin-Pietersen-Lords-30-05-10

Never mind the need to put on a good show in the six Tests before then, it’s all about the Ashes; certainly, there’s no way Kevin Pietersen, for example, will have been allowed to loll about with the crowd (above left) or sulk around with his hands in his pockets (above right) for a Test agains South Africa or Australia, but for Bangladesh, cricketing etiquette seemingly goes out the window.

England, then, maybe needed to be punished - and Bangladesh took full advantage, scoring 373 runs for the loss of only eight wickets in 96 overs and one ball of some of the best Test cricket Bangladesh have ever played.

Resuming on 237/7, still 69 runs short of avoiding the follow-on, Bangladesh threw caution to the wind, Shahadat in particular swinging the willow, racing to 20 runs off 17 balls before being bowled off his foot by James Anderson, leaving Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain and Robiul Islam to take them to within 24 runs of the target.

Until the final few overs, for England, that was about as good as it got, Bangladesh’s openers turning on the style, as they had done on Friday, chasing down the bat-again mark and doing so beautifully, with brave, aggressive batting and barely a false shot in sight.


The star of the show, the deep, red circle of energy in the bottle green field was Tamim Iqbal, scorer of the fastest Lord’s Test century in 20 years, his name etched on the honours board, the first from his country to score a century at Lord’s - and boy did he celebrate, skipping into the air, outlining an imaginary board and writing his name on it.

Tamim, eventually out for 103 from exactly 100 balls, was soon joined in the Pavilion by Imran Kayes - also dismissed by Stephen Finn - for 75, off a more sedate though no less impressive 147 balls. The strike rate and strokeplay of Tamim, and to a lesser extent Imran, was on a different par to that normally associated with Tests.

In one Graeme Swann over - his first of the day - the crowd were treated to Tamim smashing six, four and six off successive deliveries, all genuine shots, all cheered to the boundary by the sparse but enthusiastic 8,000-odd crowd.

Once the openers went, within four overs and for the addition of four runs, numbers 3 and 4, Junaid Siddique (66*) and Jahurul Islam (46) rebuilt, adding 100 runs for the third wicket before England’s late show shook things up: Jonathan Trott, England’s first innings double centurion, caught and bowled Jahurul in the 73rd over; Mohammad Ashraful was next out for a breezy 21, caught behind off Anderson; and Tim Bresnan re-arranged Shahadat’s stumps 10 balls from the close.

With no rain forecast tomorrow and another 98 overs possible, England look odds-on to chase down whatever fourth innings target is set them. Bangladesh, having played better in the past few days than even their most fervent believers could have expected, will hope to emerge with a draw, but regardless of the result, will leave with heads held high and their Test status assured.

Day 5 tickets: £10 for adults, free for over-65s & under-16s
Cricinfo: Follow the action live if you’re unable to make it


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