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Gale strengthens Lions' hand

England Lions

Andrew Gale

Andrew Gale makes light of the loss of two early wickets to hit an unbeaten 63. England Lions closed on 124 for three

Andrew Gale continued his fine start to the season with an unbeaten half-century as England Lions enjoyed a prosperous opening day against Bangladesh at Derby.

The Yorkshire skipper was 63 not out at stumps, with the Lions 124 for three in reply to the tourists’ below-par 220.

Alastair Cook, captaining the Lions, was among the victims - he made 31 - but he can be pleased with his side’s position of strength after the first day in this four-day encounter.

Earlier, Bangladesh had collapsed from 109 for one, with Steve Kirby taking three wickets in 18 balls to finish with 3-49.

Although Ravi Bopara returned from England’s triumphant World Twenty20 triumph to run through the tail, claiming 3-9 from 3.2 overs, he made only 12 with the bat before Gale led a recovery from 16 for two.

Bangladesh had batted well in the morning after they were put in against a Lions attack which struggled to locate the right length, but the innings was undermined by some rash shots.

Tamim Iqbal drove and glanced Kirby for three consecutive fours and Imrul Kayes brought up the 50 in the 11th over when he drove Chris Woakes for four.

Kayes was dropped on 20 when he drove James Harris low to Woakes at cover, but Tamim Iqbal’s attacking instincts betrayed him when he top-edged a hook at Liam Plunkett and was caught at fine-leg for 36.

Kayes looked well set until, flashing at Woakes, he was caught behind for 42, and the tourists’ decline gathered pace after lunch as the seamers found a more consistent line.

Liam Plunkett & Jahurul Islam

Liam Plunkett takes the plaudits as Jahurul Islam departs, one of five Bangladeshis to pass 20 without reaching a half-century

Junaid Siddique was taken by a juggling Moeen Ali at second slip for 30 and Mohammad Ashraful suffered his first failure of the tour when he edged an expansive drive at Kirby.

The Gloucestershire pace bowler then found extra bounce to have Mushfiqur Rahim caught by Moeen for a single and Plunkett struck with his first ball back when Jahurul Islam mistimed a pull to mid-on.

The tourists were in deep trouble at 158 for seven after Abdur Razzak edged Woakes to first slip, but Mahmudullah responded by hooking Plunkett for consecutive sixes before he pulled Bopara to Monty Panesar at fine-leg.

Panesar did not bowl in the innings, which was quickly polished off by Bopara, who replaced the injured Michael Carberry in th team this week.

Bopara failed with the bat, taken by Kayes at second slip off Robiul Islam, and Moeen Ali went first ball in almost identical fashion.

Cook and Gale had some uncomfortable moments against the Bangladesh seamers, but were repairing the damage until the skipper pulled Rubel Hossain to mid-on.

Gale went to his half-century off 71 balls and shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 50 with James Taylor to leave the Lions 96 adrift at the close.

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