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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Ian Bell century gives England lead in Bangladesh Test

Second Test, Mirpur, day three (close):
Bangladesh 419 v England 440-8
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave & BBC Sport website (from 0315 GMT); live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles; also live on Sky Sports
Match scorecard

Ian Bell
Bell kept Bangladesh at bay with an authoritative innings

By Oliver Brett

Ian Bell's 10th Test century allowed England to ease into a narrow lead which severely dented Bangladesh's hunt for a rare Test victory in Mirpur.

England did suffer an early setback on day three when Jonathan Trott fell without adding to his overnight 64.

But Bell (138) added 98 with Matt Prior (62) and 143 with Tim Bresnan (74 not out) before England closed on 440-8.

It gave them a 21-run lead over Bangladesh, whose bowlers struggled to conjure much from the docile pitch.

But their hopes of securing a first innings lead were not helped by a number umpiring decisions which went against them.

Prior was the first England batsman to win a lucky reprieve when Rubel Hossain, finding reverse swing at decent pace, bent a delivery into his pads early in the morning session.

The England wicketkeeper had only reached nine at the time when New Zealand umpire Tony Hill adjudged him not out.

Tim Bresnan
Bresnan, in his second Test innings, showed his potential all-round value

Bangladesh's frustration increased in the first hour after lunch when they were denied on two further occasions.

Bresnan, on five, got a favourable verdict from the Australian Rod Tucker, despite visible evidence of an inside edge onto pad before a catch was claimed close to the wicket off the bowling of slow left-armer Shakib Al Hasan.

And not long afterwards Bell, who otherwise played quite immaculately en route to his century, should have fallen lbw to the other left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, umpire Hill again declining a good shout for lbw.

Bangladesh fans have frequently felt hard done by from the international umpiring panel over the years, and Monday's events at the Shere Bangla Stadium added further grist to their mill.

Had those three decisions gone their way, they would have probably been in position to earn a tidy lead and heap real pressure on England.

However, it was not the fault of England's batsmen that the umpires suffered a bad day and Bell - though he was dropped on 119 - took the opportunity to cement his position in an England middle order from which he was discarded for much of last year.

The Warwickshire man, who has built a formidable record against Bangladesh, showed terrific reserves of concentration and put away the short ball particularly well to put paid to one of the more curious statistics of his Test career.

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Bell, 27, had never before scored a Test century without one of his team-mates having already reached three figures in the innings, but he did not require a lead from anyone this time.

Overall, the cricket had an insipid quality to it, with England in no rush to score at more than three runs an over and Bangladesh's fielders frequently fielding the ball with their feet.

Bell's Warwickshire colleague Trott quickly departed when a delivery from skipper Shakib cannoned off his elbow and down into his stumps.

But Shakib, after a brief and encouraging experiment with the pace of Rubel, relied too heavily on the bowling of Razzak and himself.

Absurdly, the new ball was taken by Razzak of all people as soon as it became available, and Bell responded by hitting the spinner for consecutive boundaries.

Prior played some lovely cover-drives and had become England's main aggressor as he reached his half-century with a pull for four more, but then became greedy.

Approaching lunch - and having already hit Shakib for two fours in the over - he charged the bowler, attempted an ugly swipe, and was bowled.

Matt Prior
Matt Prior played freely before playing a poor shot just before lunch

The middle session was largely soporific, but it did witness Bell moving to 90 with an effortless straight six off Razzak and then to his hundred with a compact cut for four off Rubel.

Bresnan, whose footwork looked a little clumsy early on, grew more confident with time at the crease. He reached his fifty with a nice little skip down the wicket before belting Shakib straight for four.

By then Bell had picked out midwicket off the under-used paceman Shafiul Islam, only for Imrul Kayes to spill the chance.

Late in the day as England edged slowly to the Bangladesh total, Bell, hitting Shakib against the spin, skied a catch to square-leg.

But Bresnan, in more than four hours at the crease, showed coach Andy Flower that he is a viable option at number seven.

Graeme Swann fell when Shakib got his fingers to Bresnan's straight drive, deflecting it into the stumps with the non-striking batsman some way short of his ground.

Though it is hard not to suggest Shakib has bowled himself a bit too much in sending down 57 overs, the skipper will feel a return of 4-99 justified his marathon effort.

It was Mahmudullah, however, who struck the final blow of the day, having Stuart Broad, who never settled at the crease, leg-before as he groped forward unconvincingly.



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Bangladesh v England day three photos
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England shade first day honours
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Live cricket on the BBC
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England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket


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