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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Alastair Cook century steers England to Test series win

Second Test, Mirpur, day five:
England 496 & 209-1 beat Bangladesh 419 & 285 by nine wickets
Match scorecard

Alastair Cook
Cook played at a perfect tempo on Wednesday

By Oliver Brett

England finally cruised to a 2-0 series win over Bangladesh through the batting of Alastair Cook, who hit a 12th Test century, and Kevin Pietersen.

Cook made 109 and Pietersen 74 in an unbroken stand of 167 as England won by nine wickets, reaching their target of 209 with exactly 10 overs remaining.

But England had not had their own way on the final morning of the match.

Shakib Al Hasan was last out for 96 soon after lunch, Bangladesh doing well to convert an overnight 172-6 into 285.

The Worcestershire-bound Shakib certainly showcased his all-round talents in this match by adding the runs scored on his 23rd birthday to his score of 49 in the first innings and a marathon spell of 66 overs in England's first innings, yielding 4-144.

But after all that the Bangladesh captain looked a little weary as England set about their chase, which with a required rate of 3.87 on a Mirpur pitch that was playing miles better than a standard fifth day pitch had a right to, did not prove particularly taxing.

The home side had not put quite enough runs on the board, and by only batting for 102 overs in their second innings they had left enough time in the game for England to be confident about taking the win.

There was one setback in the tourists' chase with the score on 42 when Jonathan Trott, scoring far more freely than he had in his day two rearguard, was given run out by third umpire Nadir Shah.

The kindest thing one could say was that the official's decision defied obvious logic, since television viewers could not see a frame in which Trott's bat was short of the line with wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim having dislodged the bails.

But Cook was batting at a nice tempo, and Pietersen pulled, swept and drove the spinners well to put England in good shape at 95-1 from the 25 overs that took England to the tea interval.

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A terrific pull through midwicket from Cook soon after tea off Rubel Hossain took him to his half-century and England were just about halfway there.

Pietersen was moving through the gears really well too, soon reaching his own half-century and, with the win almost in the bag, switch-hitting Mahmudullah for four.

That shot in particular will have pleased fans of IPL franchise Bangalore, who welcome Pietersen into their squad later this week.

Cook reached his century with an effortless cover-drive for four off Mahmudullah and supplied the winning hit by dispatching the same bowler to the midwicket fence.

When Wednesday's play began, England were made to sweat by Shakib and Shafiul Islam, who quickly stretched an overnight lead of just 95 into something more significant.

Shafiul had already belied his billing as a rank tailender in the first innings when hitting his first half-century in first-class cricket, and now he took on Graeme Swann with positive results, combining old-fashioned slogging over cow-corner with some authentic sweeps.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen has shaken off the poor form he endured coming into the series

Stuart Broad took the new ball for England and was mainly wasteful though Shakib, on 54, almost holed out to Trott at deep square-leg - the fielder dropping a diving one-handed chance.

Curiously, Alastair Cook put James Tredwell on at the other end, ahead of either of the other two seamers, but his instincts were justified from the Kent off-spinner's sixth delivery with the new ball.

With three fielders positioned in the deep on the leg-side, Shafiul launched another big drive but unerringly picked out Trott, who this time completed the catch.

Soon afterwards Prior dropped Shakib off Tredwell, but things were beginning to happen for England and Tredwell, who persuaded Naeem Islam to pop up a catch to Pietersen at deepish mid-on.

Shakib, who had cut and pulled the seamers well, was more circumspect now, but Abdur Razzak gave him good company for a while.

It was vital for Bangladesh that they kept two wickets in hand at lunch, but Steven Finn, bowling the last over before lunch prevented that from happening. He beat Razzak for pace with a low full-toss that thudded into his pads in front of the stumps.

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Shakib faced Tredwell in the first full over after lunch. The first and fifth balls were struck to the fence but with one more boundary required for his second Test century he gave it away as he advanced down the wicket to the last ball of the over and was well stumped by Prior.

Tredwell, long touted by his county captain Rob Key as one of the finest spinners in county cricket, finished with fine figures of 4-82.

The feeling was that Bangladesh had neither scored quite enough in their second innings, nor taken quite enough time out of the game, and England's batsmen confirmed that suspicion in the final two sessions of a series that nevertheless proved more competitive than predicted.



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see also
Cook captaincy praised by Flower
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England on course for Mirpur win
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Patient Bell puts England ahead
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England face tough battle in Test
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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
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