(Photo: Action Images)
By Harvey Burgess
England rallied back after a sluggish start to bowl Bangladesh out for 220, before the home side took three early wickets to leave the visitors on 50-3 at the end of the first day of the second Test in Dhaka.
Bangladesh suffered a sudden batting collapse, losing 9 wickets for 49 runs from the promising position of 171-1. However the touring side lost three of their top order before rain put an end to the day, as the pressure mounted on the young opener Ben Duckett and Gary Ballance.
Moeen Ali took five wickets after Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque had got the home side off to a strong start, recording a century and half-century respectively. Figures of 19.5-5-57-5 indicated a marked improvement from the first Test, where England’s spin bowlers were guilty of conceding far too many runs.
Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes accounted for the rest of the wickets as Bangladesh’s middle-order struggled badly – aside from the aforementioned duo who performed excellently, the other nine players to bat contributed just 40 runs between them.
The debutant Zafar Ansari suffered a particularly harsh baptism of fire into Test cricket after he replaced fellow Surrey spinner Gareth Batty. Ansari was only entrusted to bowl six overs and conceded 36 runs as he struggled to deal with the pressure on his debut.
Adil Rashid was also wasteful in his ten overs and the first-innings performances of these two bowlers will do nothing to ease the worries of the England selectors, who face some difficult decisions ahead of the forthcoming Test series in India.
England began their innings poorly, with Ben Duckett launching Shakib Al Hasan for six before being caught behind in the very same over. The selectors’ decision to opt for Duckett over the young Lancashire opener Haseeb Hameed will no doubt be called into question after another poor innings by the left-hander from Northamptonshire.
Alistair Cook followed shortly after, falling leg-before to Mehedi Hasan after Bangladesh had reviewed the umpire’s original not-out call. A few overs later Gary Ballance fell victim to the same bowler, the 18-year-old having the Englishman caught behind after a wonderful piece of bowling. The 26-year-old’s position in the team is under threat again as Jos Buttler waits for his chance to return to Test cricket.
The away side will surely have been delighted to come off for a rain break towards the end of the day, with Moeen Ali and Joe Root set to continue the batting when play resumes on Saturday morning.