England held as Pietersen struggles
Kevin Pietersen’s run of poor form continued as England drew their solitary warm-up match before the opening Test against Bangladesh.
Set an unlikely 284 to win in two sessions in Chittagong after allowing Bangladesh A to declare on 362 for five, England closed on 185 for five.
Pietersen arrived at the crease with just 49 runs from six innings on tour, and he mustered just 20 more before becoming the second of Mohammad Ashraful’s three victims.
Michael Carberry, who made five in the first innings, managed 35 at the second attempt as he failed to make a convincing case for inclusion in the Test side, but Alastair Cook underlined his consistency with 42.
The captain retired out at tea, having at least succeeded in gaining some extra batting practice after hastening Bangladesh A’s declaration before lunch.
Resuming on 131 for three in their second innings - a lead of 52 - the hosts were allowed to add 231 in the morning session - including an astonishing 189 in just nine overs as part-timers Cook and Carberry offered up a series of full tosses and long-hops.
Carberry launched England’s run-chase in brisk fashion by smashing Dolar Mahmud out of the attack, but Ashraful had him taken at short-leg to break an opening stand of 57.
Although Pietersen managed two fours and a straight six off Ashraful, he was bowled attempting to sweep the same bowler.
He had faced 23 balls during 22 minutes in the middle, leaving him without a major innings on this tour ahead of the opening Test in Chittagong starting on Friday.
Since taking charge of the side, Cook has been in the sort of consistent form Pietersen must envy, and the left-hander progressed serenely against both spin and seam alike before retiring.
Tim Bresnan - promoted to number four, an indication perhaps that he will be required in the first Test - contributed 36 before he too fell to Ashraful, and James Tredwell was bowled for 11 by Noor Hossain.
It was left to Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, whose first-innings century means he among the batsmen can take the most out of this game - Tredwell, with eight wickets, starred with the ball - to see out the final few overs.
England began with positive intent this morning, Steven Finn and Ajmal Shahzad removing Raqibul Hasan and Ashraful respectively before Cook’s change of approach.
Finn was rewarded for a probing early spell with the wicket of the first-innings centurion, who added just one run to his overnight 50 before he has beaten for pace and lost his off stump.
Although captain Ashraful made a fluent 30 - he was bowled by one that kept low - his failure to make the big score the Bangladesh selectors were looking for cost him any chance of winning a place in the squad for the opening Test.
What followed hardly made for edifying viewing as Cook brought himself and Carberry on, each happily yielding boundary after boundary in a bid to prompt the declaration.
An avalanche of fours and sixes followed, with fielders scarcely moving to stop the ball as runs leaked at a fantastic rate.
Cook, bearing the brunt of the damage, saw Shuvagoto Hom smash 91 not out off 31 balls, and Dolar made an equally facile unbeaten 66 off 17 deliveries.
Neither bothered to acknowledge their half-centuries, while Cook was left nursing figures of 5-0-111-0 and Carberry conceded 78 in four overs.
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