England batter sorry Bangladesh
Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell and Graeme Swann played starring roles as England moved into an impregnable position on the second day of the opening Test against Bangladesh.
Collingwood matched Alastair Cook’s feat in reaching three figures by making 145, and Bell sparkled with a fluent 84 in a mammoth total of 599 for six declared in Chittagong.
A pitch which offered the Bangladesh bowlers negligible resistance did not deter Stuart Broad, who struck twice with the new ball before Swann claimed three wickets in the final session to reduce the hosts to 154 for five by the close of another largely one-sided day.
Cook fell for a Test-best 173 early this morning, but Collingwood maintained - then added to - England’s momentum as he and Bell pummelled a bedraggled Bangladesh attack.
Although Bell batted splendidly, Collingwood was the chief aggressor during a 185-run stand for the fifth wicket which featured a withering assault after tea and hastened England’s declaration.
The exception to the theme running through this contest was a fourth-wicket partnership of 94 between Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah, who led a spirited Bangladesh counter-attack which caused Cook a rare and belated problem during his first Test in charge of England.
Having sparkled with the bat in the one-day series, the talented Tamim served a reminder of his threat with a fine unbeaten 81 full of audacious strokes, but Swann’s removal of Mahmudullah for a marginally less aggressive 51 late in the day reaffirmed England’s dominance.
The hosts will resume tomorrow trailing by 445, and no doubt heavily reliant on Tamim as they attempt to achieve their initial target of avoiding the follow-on.
Cook needed 20 minutes to gather the three runs he required to surpass his previous highest score in Tests - 160 against West Indies at the Riverside last summer - but fell in tame fashion when he miscued a pull off a rank Mahmudullah long hop to offer a simple return catch.
It was a rare moment of success for Bangladesh, who saw Collingwood - 32 overnight - shovel Shakib Al Hasan over wide long-on for six shortly en route to a 76-ball half-century and Bell drive Mahmudullah back over his head to launch a wonderfully entertaining innings.
Bangladesh showed greater discipline than yesterday with the ball early on - their fielding, with the odd exception, remains appalling - a measure of which was the fact that Collingwood’s second 50 did not contain a single boundary.
But the batsmen rotated the strike almost at will - Shakib had little choice but to set the field back - and the only threat to their safety appeared to be any break in concentration.
There was none forthcoming. Collingwood pressed on remorselessly to his hundred, which contained seven fours and a six and spanned 157 balls - he passed 4,000 Test runs in the process - while Bell unfurled a series of splendid inside-out drives over extra-cover, one of which took him to 50.
Collingwood, as is his wont, favoured the leg side, although there was one perfectly straight six at Shakib’s expense in an over which saw him offer a tough caught-and-bowled chance and survive a missed stumping by the consistently woeful Mushfiqur Rahim.
The boundary count continued to soar and Bangladesh’s standards - and spirits - sagged further when Abdur Razzak was deposited for a six and two fours in an over costing 18.
He finished with chastening figures of 31-1-157-2, which included the wicket of Collingwood, smartly held by Tamim, running to his right at long-off, as he chased another six.
As if to underline Bangladesh’s shortcomings in the field, Mushfiqur spilled a Matt Prior edge and Bell was put down by a diving Rubel Hossain at long-off moments before he drilled a Shakib full toss to the same fielder.
Their plight appeared even more desperate when Imrul Kayes fell victim to England’s blatant ploy of testing him with bouncers - he gloved the third in succession to Prior down the leg side - and Junaid Siddique was tucked up by another short ball to provide Broad with a second wicket before tea.
Swann extended his astonishing record of taking a wicket in his first over when he had Aftab Ahmed, essaying a paddle sweep, caught at short-leg off glove and pad, Bell making a tricky catch easier by moving to his right in antipication.
Tamim, however, refused to let the loss of three colleagues in quick succession alter his aggressive outlook, following up a stylish cut off the first ball of the innings with a pulled six over fine-leg at Broad’s expense.
Debutant Steven Finn was forced out of the attack after three expensive overs, while Swann was twice swept for four from outside off stump by Tamim shortly after he had gone to a 53-ball half-century.
The highlight of Mahmudullah’s fifty, which encompassed one delivery more, was a glorious straight six off Swann, but the off-spinner exacted his revenge when he had him caught at slip via glove, arm and helmet as he too perished on the sweep.
A more watchful Tamim may have survived until the close, but Shakib could not do likewise. He was bowled by a wonderfully flighted delivery from Swann from round the wicket which drew him into the drive, turned to beat the outside edge and hit the top of off stump.
All in all, things could not have gone much better for England.
The new Brit Insurance 2010-11 official England Cricket Team kit will be available to pre order from April 1 via ecb.co.uk, and in store from April 29