Swann stresses England's dominance
Graeme Swann believes England are in a “magnificent position” to clinch the first Test against Bangladesh, but warned the hosts will be no pushovers on the last two days.
Swann took five wickets in an innings for the fifth time in Tests as England bowled the Tigers out for 296 - 303 shy of the tourists’ 599 for six declared.
Alastair Cook opted to rest his bowlers rather than enforce the follow-on and although Bangladesh had the best of the final session, as England slipped to 131 for five, a lead of 434 with five wickets in hand should still be ample.
“We’re over 430 ahead after three days and you can’t argue with that, we’re in a magnificent position,” he said.
“Yes, we lost a couple of wickets at the end, which isn’t ideal, but with two days to play I think we’re in the box seat.
“We got a bit of reverse swing going and there’s always a little bit of turn, the odd one hitting a crack and going a bit more, so we’re confident.”
Although Swann has his side down as firm favourites, he was impressed enough by the battling knocks of Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, who made 86 and 79 respectively, to sound a note of caution.
“Bangladesh batted very well today for an hour before lunch and an hour after lunch and that showed we are going to have our work cut out to take the last 10 wickets,” said the 30-year-old.
“That’s no surprise after the one-day series. They’ve shown they have some very capable batsmen and some capable bowlers as well so we’re not surprised that they are putting up a fight.”
Swann’s fourth wicket, that of Mushfiqur, came courtesy of a supreme reaction catch at short midwicket from substitute fielder James Tredwell, who had been on the field just a matter of moments in place of Cook.
“It’s the best catch I’ve ever had taken off my bowling, I wish everyone could field like that,” Swann added.
“You’re always told if you’re not playing to try and make an impact in whatever way you can. Taking the best catch of your career is probably the best way to do that.
“But I was just overjoyed that ‘Cooky’ was off the field because there was no chance he’d have caught that.”
Opener Tamim, who will shoulder much of the responsibility when Bangladesh’s second innings gets under way, remained positive despite the huge target facing the Tigers.
“It’s tough to say how many runs you can chase here,” he said. “They have already a lead of around 430 runs and I think they will declare the innings with around a 500-run lead.
“We are mentally strong now and we know we have to perform in our second innings. We scored more than 400 runs in the fourth innings in a Test match against Sri Lanka in Dhaka so who knows?
“We are not conceding defeat yet, because we know if someone can play an extraordinary innings anything is possible in cricket.”
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