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Bangladesh vs England, 1st Test, Day 4: Siddique Stalls England

By on March 15, 2010

Bangladesh 296 and 191 for 5 (Siddique 68*, Rahim 47*) need 322 more runs to beat England 599 for 6 dec and 209 for 7 dec (Shakib 4-62)…

Junaid Siddique led a stubborn resistance effort as Bangladesh fought hard to take the opening Test against England into a fifth day.

Set a hugely improbable 513 to win – or, more realistically, surviving five and a half sessions – Bangladesh lost both openers before lunch and a further three wickets in slipping to 110 for five shortly before tea in Chittagong.

Siddique, however, demonstrated the application lacking in many of his colleagues to make an unbeaten half-century which, if far from pretty, was crucial to denying England any success this evening.

Ably assisted by first-innings stalwart Mushfiqur Rahim, he carried Bangladesh to 191 for five by the close, trailing by a notional 321 yet with the possibility of a remarkable draw, however faint, still alive.

They will resume tomorrow on 68 and 47 respectively, faced with the threat of a new ball that will be available to England after five overs.

Its importance is exacerbated on a surface offering the quick bowlers – already hampered by the soaring humidity – precious little encouragement and the spinners merely slow turn.

A win inside four days appeared possible when three wickets tumbled in the space of five overs before tea, but the extra work which awaits England is unlikely to bother captain Alastair Cook, who delayed his declaration until midway through the morning session despite boasting a lead widely regarded as unassailable.

Although no side has chased more than 418 for victory in the fourth innings of a Test, and Bangladesh have won only once batting last, England – resuming this morning on 131 for five and 434 ahead – opted to extend their advantage.

They lost Matt Prior cheaply, but Ian Bell, his overnight partner, helped add 78 in 50 minutes before Cook declared for the second time in the match, with England 209 for seven.

Bell cut and pulled his way to 39 not out and Graeme Swann made a sprightly 32, both enjoying the freedom of what amounted to little more than batting practice as Bangladesh attempted to delay the inevitable.

As has been the pattern throughout this match, pockets of resistance were interspersed with flurries of wickets when Bangladesh batted.

Swann was called upon to bowl the ninth over of the innings after Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes blunted the new-ball threat of Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan.

Although off-spinner Swann failed to claim one of his famous first-over wickets, he needed wait only until his second for the breakthrough, finding appreciable turn from around the wicket to beat Tamim’s defensive push and hit off stump.

Kayes, peppered by bouncers following his first-innings travails against the short ball, survived until the final over before lunch, when he followed a back-of-a-length delivery slanted across him by Steven Finn.

Aftab Ahmed mixed stout defence with the odd slice of luck in adding 54 with Siddique, only to fall for 26 shortly after drinks, drawn forward by Bresnan and caught behind by Prior via a faint outside edge.

Reverse-swing from Bresnan did for Mahmudullah, who was bowled off his pads aiming across the line, and Shakib Al Hasan never hinted at composure before he was lbw attempting to sweep Swann.

Siddique, far from convincing early as he inside-edged Finn and Bresnan for four early in his innings, also overcame a nervous spell shortly before bringing up a doughty 133-ball fifty with a lofted drive off Swann.

The left-hander continued in watchful fashion thereafter, repelling the threat of England’s tiring seamers and the occasional variable bounce with a combination of dead-batted defensive strokes and punchy drives.

Mushfiqur followed up his first-innings 79 with an equally determined innings today, smothering Swann’s admirably full length while never less than willing to punish anything short on an unforgiving surface.

Prior’s dismissal – caught at mid-on giving Shakib the charge – was an early aberration on an otherwise prosperous morning for England, although some observers questioned why Cook chose to bat on for as long as he did.

The highlight of Bell’s innings was a driven six over long-on off the expensive Abdur Razzak, while Swann timed the ball sweetly from the off and even managed to unfurl a Kevin Pietersen-style switch-hit for four.

However, the shot ultimately brought about his downfall, Swann swatting Shakib to what was extra-cover and prompting the declaration. Shakib, for what it is worth, finished with 4-62.

Source: ECB

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