Trott weighs anchor on trying day
England found themselves scrapping to stay in touch for the first time in this series following a resourceful display by Bangladesh on a soporific day's play in Mirpur.
In an eminently forgettable morning for England, the Bangladesh tail kept the tourists in the field for an hour and a half, stretching out their first innings to a challenging 419.
The hosts then produced a classic strangling operation to limit England’s progress in the sweltering afternoon heat.
It took an innings of great patience from Jonathan Trott, opening for the first time in his Test career, to claw back ground for England. By the close, they were 171 for three, a deficit of 248.
Trott will resume tomorrow on 64 not out from 187 balls, with a confident Ian Bell by his side on 25 not out.
At times today the match threatened to meander without any real purpose, but Bangladesh deserve praise for chipping away on an utterly unhelpful pitch.
Relying primarily on his own left-arm spin, Shakib Al Hasan bowled 24 overs for a mere 26 runs, almost all delivered in one spell from the Mutual Trust Bank End. He claimed the prize wicket of Kevin Pietersen to boot.
England’s openers were required to negotiate five overs before lunch. Having seen the ease at which his own side scored yesterday, the Bangladesh captain had little hesitation in employing field settings designed to prevent England doing the same.
Alastair Cook played confidently in reaching 21, but looking to exert his authority he holed out to deep midwicket attempting to slog-sweep Abdur Razzak in the 14th over.
Trott, on the other hand, found it tough to manoeuvre the spinners. The right-hander spent 32 balls on nought before surviving a run-out chance when seeking a quick single to mid-off.
Trott was handed a life just after drinks when short-leg Mahmudullah dropped a good bat-pad chance off Shakib.
The decision to introduce Rubel Hossain’s seam as late as the 28th over appeared to signal a chance for England to exploit the wearing ball.
Yet Rubel almost triggered Pietersen’s demise, fortunate to be given the benefit of the doubt to a strong lbw shout whipping to leg.
England’s position looked comfortable by the 40th over, with the second-wicket partnership at 76 and Pietersen chalking up 5,000 career Test runs when he reached 45.
But Pietersen had little chance to dwell on that statistical curiosity, out without adding to his score.
Seeing Pietersen advance down, Shakib had the wherewithal to drop his delivery short, inducing a leading edge snapped up by short extra cover.
England were in real strife the next over, when Paul Collingwood was caught on the crease by Rubel’s inswinger and correctly adjudged lbw.
Fortunately for the tourists, Trott began to find his feet, and had a confident partner in Bell. The shackles came off when Bell advanced down to hit Shakib, while an ailing Razzak offered three leg-side gifts for Trott in a single over.
Runs came a lot quicker towards the end of the day, as Bangladesh began to tire and Shakib declined to turn to his two off-spinners. The fourth-wicket stand was worth 64 by the close.
Seeking a swift conclusion to Bangladesh’s innings this morning, England were instead kept waiting for 23.1 overs, as the final two wickets added 89 runs and took the hosts’ first innings beyond 400.
England had not reckoned on the ninth-wicket pair of Naeem Islam and Shafiul Islam, who both scored maiden Test fifties with a mix of intelligent defence and brazen aggression.
Both benefited greatly from the modern-day aversion to placing a fielder at third man, scoring 45 of the morning's 89 runs behind square on the off-side, many through nicks. It was a trying time for Cook.
Shafiul often backed away to the short ball, but showed genuine power on the front foot when the ball was there to be hit. Successive clubbed fours off James Tredwell took him to a 47-ball half-century.
The stubborn number 10 was finally removed by Tim Bresnan for 53, when Matt Prior took a brilliant one-handed catch to an attempted chop to third man.
Rubel demonstrated that he also possesses some talent, striking two crisp cover drives before nicking Graeme Swann behind for 17.
But Bangladesh had Naeem to thank for their enviable position. He finished 59 not out from 173 balls, and barely made a mistake.
Bangladesh’s total constitutes their third-highest score in 10 years of Test cricket. Only their 488 to beat Zimbabwe in 2005, and 427 in a near miss against Australia a year later, eclipse it.
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