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Bangladesh vs England, 2nd Test, Day 3: Unflustered Bell Puts England On Top

By on March 22, 2010

England 440 for 8 (Bresnan 74*, Tredwell 0*, Shakib Al Hasan 4-99) lead Bangladesh 419 (Tamim Iqbal 85, Swann 4-114) by 21 runs…

Ian Bell delivered one of his most composed hundreds to squeeze the life out of a demoralised Bangladesh on day three of the second Test in Mirpur.

In a departure from the painstaking efforts of his colleagues yesterday, Bell was rarely tied down in his 10th Test century, allowing England to contemplate the extent of their first-innings as early as tea.

The first man to three figures in this match, Bell can now cast aside the oft-quoted fact that he only scoring centuries off the back of someone else.

An hour before the scheduled close, England were 403 for five, just 16 runs behind.

This was the wretched day for Bangladesh that almost everyone had predicted. Their solitary two wickets arrived in the morning, but with the exception of the awkward Shakib Al Hasan, none of their bowlers could stem the flow of runs and force errors from batsmen prepared to wait for the bad ball.

In mitigation, the hosts were harshly dealt by at least two marginal decisions when they still harboured hopes of claiming a first-innings advantage.

It all began so promisingly for Bangladesh. The fortuitous removal of the hitherto immovable Jonathan Trott in the third over, before England had added to their overnight 171 for three, immediately energised the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Shakib beat Trott’s forward lunge, the ball cannoning onto pad and ricocheting off his elbow. Spinning backwards, the ball trickled back and dislodged the off-bail, with Trott reacting too slowly in his attempt to kick it away.

England should have been further damaged three overs later, but Matt Prior was granted a generous reprieve when struck in front by the tireless Rubel Hossain.

Bell looked without any worries as he set about ensuring no further calamitie, though he was aided in no small part by the puzzling approach maintained by Shakib.

Against all available evidence, Shakib continued with the out-of-sorts Razzak for much of the morning, even entrusting his fellow left-arm spinner with the new ball when it immediately became available.

His decision was harshly exposed, as Bell immediately struck him for two fours and continued to milk runs off his wayward lines.

When off-spin was finally summoned in the 87th over, Prior escaped a mistimed lofted drive off Mahmudullah.

Prior flowered towards the end of the morning session, recording his fifty by hauling Mahmudullah over midwicket for four.

But having helped himself to two leg-side full tosses from Shakib, Prior charged rashly in the same over and was bowled for 62. However, his stand of 98 with Bell had knocked the stuffing out of Bangladesh, and set the platform for Bresnan.

Two key moments fell in England’s favour in the afternoon. Bresnan’s faint edge onto his pad was gobbled up by silly point, and the batsman stood his ground as Shakib’s vociferous appeal was rejected.

Bell had his first real reprieve on 82, struck by Razzak on the back leg playing to the on-side, but was given the benefit of the doubt to a ball probably clipping leg stump.

Bell emphasised his assuredness by dancing down to Razzak and striking him for a straight six, the first maximum of his innings.

Unhurried in the nineties, Bell reached his century, from 201 deliveries, with a trademark late cut through a now deserted slip cordon.

Without performing any miracles, Bell and Bresnan had added 87 between lunch and tea, with Shakib resorting to Tamim Iqbal’s lobbed off-breaks in an attempt to bore England into submission.

It did not work. Despite that, Bell should have been on his way for 119 when he clipped a Shafiul Islam long-hop to forward square-leg, where Imrul Kayes, diving forward, could not hang on.

Bresnan clubbed Shakib for four to reach his maiden Test half-century and claimed more of the strike as the day wore on.

Source: ECB

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