Bell steadies England against Bangladesh

Manchester: Ian Bell took his average against Bangladesh to nearly 200 as he finished 87 not out on the first day of the second and final Test at Old Trafford here on Friday.

England, when bad light and rain forced an early close, were 275 for five after winning the toss.

Matthew Prior was 21 not out, having so far helped Bell add 52 for the sixth wicket.

Several England batsmen, including Kevin Pietersen with 64, made starts on a good pitch after captain Andrew Strauss called correctly.

But only Bell, who made an unbeaten 162 against Bangladesh - who`ve won just three of their previous 67 Tests - at Chester-le-Street five years ago, cashed in.

His average against the Tigers stood at 197.33 at stumps but against India and Australia it is only in the mid 20s.

Earlier, recalled fast bowler Shafiul Islam rocked England with two wickets for four runs in seven balls to dismiss Strauss and Jonathan Trott.

England were 215 for four at tea.

Bell was 52 not out and left-hander Eoin Morgan 33 not out.

But a stand worth 70 was broken when Morgan, now on 37, was brilliantly caught by a diving Jahurul Islam in the gully off a flashing square cut against pace bowler Shahadat Hossain to leave England 223 for five.

Bell cut the spinners to good effect as the skies clouded over.

Prior though was fortunate, on 18, to survive an lbw appeal from recalled left-arm spinner Abdur Razzaq, with replays suggesting the ball would have hit leg stump.

But with no referral system in place for this series, Bangladesh had to accept New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden`s decision.

England, who won the first Test of this two-match series by eight wickets at Lord`s on Monday, started the second session on 92 for three with Pietersen 22 not out and Bell unbeaten on five.

Pietersen, using his feet, lofted Razzaq - who`d struck with his first ball before lunch to dismiss Alastair Cook - over mid-off and extra cover for four.

And Bell lofted Razzaq over long-on for six before late cutting the slow bowler to the third man rope.

Pietersen hooked Shafiul for a boundary and next ball a single saw him complete a 73 ball fifty with six fours, five of them scored after lunch.

The South Africa born batsman struck Razzaq for six over long-on.

But going down the pitch to Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, also a left-arm spinner, Pietersen`s frantic innings ended when he was beaten in the flight attempting a booming drive and stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim to end a stand of 70 with Bell.

England were now 153 for four but Bangladesh suffered a setback when Shafiul had to go off with cramp, although he returned later in the day.

Bell, on 36, saw a nick off a Shakib delivery strike Rahim on the knee before he completed a 97-ball fifty shortly before tea.

England made a rapid start after winning the toss.

However, 20-year-old pace bowler Shafiul, in only his fifth Test gave the Tigers - the control with the new ball they had been seeking with an opening spell of two for 18 in nine overs.

Left-hander Strauss, having made 21 featuring four fours, edged a good length ball from Shafiul to Imrul Kayes at second slip.

And 44 for one became 48 for two when Shafiul bowled Trott, who made 226 at Lord`s, for just three with a well-executed off-cutter.

Razzak, like Shafiul recalled after Bangladesh dropped pacemen Rubel Hossain and Robiul Islam from their team at Lord`s, had Cook (29) caught at slip by Junaid Siddique.

Bureau Report


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