Diligent England limit Tamim's damage
Bangladesh are in danger of frittering away a golden opportunity to set the agenda in the second Test against England, whose discipline shone through on a stifling day in Mirpur.
Having secured first use of a sumptuous pitch, Bangladesh required probably just one of their batsmen to stay the course in the manner of Junaid Siddique in Chittagong.
And though an innings of astonishing abandon by Tamim Iqbal had given them an ideal headstart, a score of 330 for eight at stumps has to be classed as marginally under-par.
Credit should go to England’s two off-spinners, who overcame Tamim’s blitzkrieg to chip away at the middle order. James Tredwell was probably the pick, bowling tidily on Test debut for his two wickets.
England wisely opted to bring in Tredwell as part of a five-man attack. Michael Carberry missed out, meaning Jonathan Trott will open when England bat.
Bangladesh may never have come close to winning a Test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, but their approach was crystal-clear when Shakib chose to bat – a decision presumably met with relief by his colleagues involved in the first Test.
On his 21st birthday, Tamim seized the initiative, threatening Majid Khan’s status as the last man to score a century before lunch on the opening day of a Test.
Tamim disconcertingly nudged Stuart Broad’s opening ball for four; a gentle moment totally at odds with what followed.
Having laced Tim Bresnan’s first delivery through the covers, Tamim enjoyed his first let-off when a flashing edge clipped the outstretched hand of Paul Collingwood at second slip.
Alastair Cook deposited a deep point in an attempt to counteract him, but Tamim’s response was merely to hit harder and straighter.
Even Graeme Swann’s renowned reputation of striking early in his spell did not deter him. Delivering the eighth over, Swann twice watched the left-hander advance down to drive him through the covers.
Tamim’s second misjudgement, attempting to hit a good-length Broad delivery over midwicket, was dropped by a groping Cook.
There was partial recompense for England two balls later, when Broad’s subtle off-cutter was skewed by Imrul Kayes to Steven Finn at short mid-off.
The loss of his opening partner did little to quell Tamim. With a total disregard for Test match convention, he straight-drove, slog-swept and lofted Swann for successive fours, then creamed him for six over long-on – all in the 12th over. In the midst of that, Tamim went to 50 from 34 balls.
Only the introduction of Tredwell, largely hidden from the view of Bangladesh’s batsmen on this tour, stemmed the flow of runs.
Tamim had been carefully onto the front foot to Tredwell initially, but on 85 he was tempted into another slog-sweep which ballooned up for a backtracking Matt Prior to take. Tamim appeared unconvinced of any contact with his bat, though the ball may have struck his forearm.
Thereafter, Bangladesh threatened to revert to type. Jahurul Islam’s maiden Test innings lasted just six balls, playing down the wrong line to Swann and pinned lbw.
Siddique, brimming with confidence from his maiden Test hundred, played sweetly through the off side on his way to 39. It was something of a surprise when he too was lbw propping forward to Swann.
Mahmudullah had shown a dangerous tendency to pad up to Tredwell early on, and consistently hit in the air when the field was up.
Having threatened to knuckle down once he reached fifty, the right-hander drove Finn’s first ball of a new spell direct to point.
Shakib got himself in for the first time in the series, combating the spinners with several authoritative sweeps.
But in a brainless over just after tea, he was tied down by the patient Tredwell. The left-hander survived one shout for lbw, before missing a slog-sweep and being struck plumb in front.
Another who threatened to rally was Mushfiqur Rahim, quick on his feet down the track to Swann.
Mushfiqur and Naeem Islam nursed Bangladesh through to the new ball, but three overs in Bresnan produced a snorter which the pint-sized number seven could only fence behind. Abdur Razzak followed cheaply lbw to Swann.
As the shadows lengthened, the suspicion grew that if ever Bangladesh had a chance to put England under pressure, it was today. Perhaps they did not quite seize it.
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