Last Rites at Lord

Following two days of play where a description of “one-sided” would be a gross underestimation of the uncompetitive nature of the First Test between England and Bangladesh, the third morning came to an end at pace as the hosts completed their routine demolition job on the battered Tigers.

Resuming on 90-5, still a deficit of 330 following England’s mammoth 528-3 declared, Aftab Ahmed reminded England of his intent as he slashed Matthew Hoggard to the cover boundary. Nevertheless, as in the first innings, his ambition was swiftly pursued by his downfall as Hoggard’s nip-backer thudded into the teenager’s pads on the line of off-stump.

Steve Harmison then sauntered in from the Pavilion End to further disrupt the visitors’ lower order as Mohammad Rafique’s first delivery, back of a length, moved away from the left hander whose lack of footwork brought about his demise. Fending away from his body , he presented Geraint Jones with a smart chance behind the stump, which the Kent gloveman – in keeping with the rest of his work during this Test – took with little fuss.

Mashrafe Mortaza swiftly followed his teammate back into the pavilion as his first ball faced burst through his pads onto leg stump, dislodging the leg bail in the process. The hat-trick ball saw a strangled LBW appeal that Hawkeye suggested was unlucky to be turned down. At 97-8, the only questions were how long it would take – and therefore how much of a refund the ECB would have to give the large Saturday crowd.

The financially-minded England fans will therefore have reason to thank the obduracy of wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud, and resilience of number ten Anwar Hossain Monir, who added their team’s highest partnership of the match. Mashud flourished where his colleagues had perished, playing straight and reining his strokeplay in whilst Anwar mixed flashing drives with a Harmison-related physical examination of the durability of his gloves as England were further impeded by their own bowlers’ insistence on overstepping.

The two Bangladeshis added 58 for the ninth wicket before being separated by Simon Jones’ third wicket of the innings when Anwar, having made a gutsy 13, drove flat-footedly at the Glamorgan seamer, snicking to the safe hands of Marcus Trescothick at first slip. Mashud was reprieved by umpire Hariharan when he seemed to faintly glove Andrew Flintoff to Geraint Jones, but the very next delivery he ballooned another short ball up to the Graham Thorpe at short leg to bring an end to his brave resistance.

The two teams meet again at Chester-le-Street next Friday, but it would be a brave – or stupid – punter to back upon anything other than a second crushing English victory. The best that Bangladesh seem to be able to reasonably hope for would be for the rest of the top order to show the same resilience and appetite for confrontation that Mashud and Anwar displayed this morning. Following a string of amateur dismissals over the first two days, however, it’s clear that hope and reality can prove to be harshly different things.

Bangladesh 108
Javed Omar 22, Aftab Ahmed 20
Matthew Hoggard 4-42, Andrew Flintoff 2-22

England 528-3
Marcus Trescothick 194, Michael Vaughan 120
Mashrafe Mortaza 2-107, Mohammad Rafique 1-150

Bangladesh 159
Khaled Mashud 44, Aftab Ahmed 32
Simon Jones 3-29, Andrew Flintoff 3-44

England won by an innings and 261 runs

England lead the 2-Test series 1-0

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Marcus Trescothick (England) – 194

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