Tamim fifty guides Bangladesh fortunes

Tea Bangladesh 119 for 3 (Tamim 55*) trail England 293 (Moeen 68, Bairstow 52, Mehedi 6-80) by 174 runs
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Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah steadied the innings for Bangladesh © AFP

Tamim Iqbal bedded in for a vital and mature innings of 55 not out, but lost his steadfast batting partner, Mahmudullah, right on the stroke of tea, as England once again bit back late in the session to keep their noses in front in the first Test at Chittagong.

By the break, Bangladesh had moved along to 119 for 3 in 43.2 overs of dedicated application, and had come within four balls of completing the entire session without losing a wicket when Adil Rashid throttled back on the pace, looped a big legbreak above Mahmudullah’s eyeline, and snicked a thick edge for Joe Root to scoop a sharp low catch at slip.

It was the second time in as many sessions that Bangladesh had wobbled in the final over before a break, following Moeen Ali’s earlier snaffling of two wickets in four balls before lunch to extract Imrul Kayes for 21 and Momimul Haque for a duck.

Replying to England’s total of 293, Tamim had been the silent partner during the first hour of Bangladesh’s innings. Taking his time to find his range on a treacherous surface, he reined in his instincts to wait 48 balls for his first boundary – a full toss from Rashid that he rifled through the covers with power and placement.

But as his innings progressed, so too did his fluency, particularly on the drive which, by staying very leg-sided to the offspin of Moeen and Gareth Batty, he was always threatening to unfurl. Sure enough, Tamim brought up his half-century from 131 balls with a sweetly-timed back-foot drill off Moeen. It was his sixth boundary in a mightily restrained performance, and took his Test record against England to seven half-centuries in nine Test innings, dating back to his thrill-a-minute centuries at Lord’s and Old Trafford in 2010.

He had two significant moments of fortune – first on 28 when he carved Moeen on the up through point and just burst through the fingers of Adil Rashid, diving to his left at point. Then, on 55, he was given out caught at slip – a fine sprawling effort by Joe Root – but successfully reviewed the decision, as replays showed it had deflected off his elbow. The unfortunate umpire was Kumar Dharmasena, who had given Moeen Ali out three times in six balls on the first day, only to have each decision overturned, and had already added to that tally earlier in the day, when a Stuart Broad lbw decision was shown to have been missing leg.

Two balls after Tamim’s reprieve, however, his partner was gone instead, to end a fine stand of 90 that had threatened to leave Bangladesh in the box seat. Mahmudullah’s innings of 38 from 66 balls had been a fine and busy performance, always looking to be positive in his footwork, even when – early on in his innings in particular – he was unable to find the gaps.

His first ball was a case in point. He arrived at the crease after lunch to face the one remaining delivery of Moeen’s opening over. Imrul and Mominul had both been done in by fast, fizzing offbreaks – the former losing his off stump, the latter splicing to gully – so he galloped down the track with confident footwork to smother the spin before it could bite.

England rang the changes throughout a largely fruitless afternoon session. Rashid initially found little in the surface to interest him, and Gareth Batty – who was handed the new ball to mark his first Test appearance for 11 years – was largely negated by Tamim and Mahmudullah’s watchfulness.

However, England’s persistence eventually paid dividends, and confirmed the suspicion that their first-innings total could yet prove to be very healthy. After resuming on their overnight 258 for 7, their hopes had received an immediate setback when Chris Woakes, the most accomplished of their remaining batsmen, was caught at short leg off the first ball of the day. Taijul Islam, somewhat overlooked on the opening day, found a perfect dipping length with his left-arm spin, for Mominul to scoop a low inside-edge under the lid.

Woakes was gone for 36, and England’s morning could have got even worse in the very next over when Mehedi Hasan, fresh from his five-wicket haul on the opening day, persuaded Adil Rashid to offer no stroke to his second delivery of the day, a fast flat bullet that looked to be demolishing all three stumps. Up went umpire Chris Gaffaney’s finger, but somehow the ball was shown to be missing leg.

Rashid, with Broad for company, set about hauling England towards the 300-mark, with a particular penchant for flicking the spinners through the leg-side. He found his range shortly before his dismissal, striking Taijul for three fours in four balls, including two such flicks plus a compact drive over mid-off, before making room to carve through point, only to pick out the diving Sabbir Rahman at short cover for 26.

Broad, who used his long levers to sweep to good effect, was joined by Batty, who got off the mark in Test cricket for the first time in more than a decade, and together the pair added four more runs for the tenth wicket before Broad became Mehedi’s sixth wicket on debut, after a rare successful review from Bangladesh – the 11th of the innings, a world record.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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