Bangladesh fielders plead for a confident bat-pad catch against England batsman Tim Bresnan (2nd from L) to Australian umpire Rod Tucker (unseen) on the third day of the second and final Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.Photo: STAR
The pitch remained placid for the batsmen also on the third day and Ian Bell made full use of it by hitting a well-composed hundred to give England a slim 21-run first innings lead at stumps yesterday.
The visitors however must thank the two on-field umpires -- Rod Tucker and Tony Hill -- since as many as three decisions went against the home team on a surface where taking wickets was proving an increasingly tough task. The ultimate result was that England finished the day on 440 for 8 after resuming the day on 171 for three courtesy of Bell's 138 and Tim Bresnan's undefeated 74.
Under the scorching heat Bangladeshi bowlers led by captain Shakib Al Hasan, who was the pick of the local bowlers with four wickets, worked hard putting the ball in the right areas but it did not ultimately pay off because of poor umpiring which has been increasingly common in the series and unfortunately the weaker team fell victim on most of the occasions.
Bangladesh made a perfect start when play resumed at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur as Shakib provided the breakthrough as early as the third over when Jonathan Trott propped forward but the ball bobbled off his pad into his elbow and spun inevitably towards the off stump.
The crisis could have deepened for the visitors soon after the first dismissal but Matt Prior was lucky enough to survive a loud appeal from pacer Rubel Hossain, who bowled with intensity in the demanding conditions, as Tony Hill was shaking his head. Prior finally hit 62 before he was the second victim of Shakib and shared an 88-run partnership in the fifth wicket stand with Bell to steady the England innings.
In the second instant Bresnan survived on five and the unlucky bowler was Shakib. The right-hander leant forward and the ball pitched and spun passing through a clear inside edge on to the pad and looped up to the silly point but Tucker was unmoved and the fielders were left stunned.
Bell was fortunate enough to make his tenth Test hundred in 55 games as he survived a confident appeal from left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak when he was 82. The right-handed batsman tried to flick the ball away but it came off the pads and TV replays clearly showed it pitching in line and hitting the target.
It was unbearable for Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons to keep his patience as he was shown on the screen pointing towards his leg and also rushing into the match referee's room.
And these mistakes made sure that the game was evenly poised as England rode on a 143-run sixth wicket partnership between Bell, who was later dropped by Imrul Kayes at midwicket off Shafiul Islam on 120, and Bresnan to kill the home side's hopes of taking a first innings lead.
Despite all the bad decisions one could not take away the superb effort of Bell who showed his character especially against the Bangladesh slow bowlers during his 262-ball 138 that contained 15 boundaries and a six.
Shakib finally put an end to the innings when Bell tried a slog sweep but could not execute it properly as the ball ballooned up off the top edge to reach at the safe hands of Jahirul Islam.
Shakib also initiated the run out of Graeme Swann while Mahmudullah Riyad trapped Stuart Broad in front to end the day with some delight.