Batting collapse after Tamim ton
Twists and turns were the hallmarks of the Chittagong classic between Bangladesh and England and the Mirpur Test promised that kind of flair on the very first day. A majestic hundred from Tamim Iqbal was followed by a terrible collapse before spin duo Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan once again dismantled England's top order before the day's play was called off 19 minutes ahead of scheduled time due to rain. The left-handed Tamim may have been at the centre of discussions at the end of the day's play for his swashbuckling eighth Test hundred, but the batsmen following him spoiled his party.
On a day that saw 13 wickets fall England's Moeen Ali was also one of the heroes as his off-breaks played a big part, apart from Ben Stokes's reverse swing much like in the first Test, in Bangladesh's abysmal collapse to be bowled out for 220 runs after at one stage being 171 for one. The question however remained whether Moeen -- whose second five-for included the scalps of the two successful Bangladeshi batsmen Tamim and Mominul Haque -- and Stokes were the beneficiaries of poor shot selection by the home batsmen. It was especially puzzling why Mahmudullah Riyad was fishing outside off stump as his irresponsible waft became the signal for the astonishing collapse.
At the end of the day's play the Bangladesh tent will probably regret wasting a great opportunity to take firm control of the match by putting a decent total on the board after a blazing 170-run second-wicket partnership between Tamim and Mominul laid a strong foundation. Instead, their lone solace in the aftermath of the batting madness was Shakib and Mehedi's late strikes that brought the hosts back into contention by reducing England to 53 for three.
With spinners dominating the proceedings, many might be curious to know whether the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB's) chief curator Gamini Silva has replicated the Chittagong surface and if the pitch played a part behind Bangladesh's terrible disintegration with the bat. Centurion Tamim had some answers: "The first 10 overs were a little difficult due to overcast conditions but the next 25 overs were a bit easier when we got the boundary balls. The ball started turning and the bowlers got reverse swing from 45 overs and towards the end. But I can in no way defend our collapse."
Earlier, the match started at the scheduled time despite the rain threat and Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim began his 50th Test with a big smile as he won the toss and decided to bat without any hesitation.
Bangladesh however lost opener Imrul Kayes in the third over of the day as the left-hander gave an early gift to the visitors hitting a short and wide ball from Chris Woakes to point but Tamim and Mominul (66) repaired the damage and took charge to defy the English bowlers. Tamim's third hundred against England, which came through two consecutive boundaries off Moeen, created a brilliant opportunity.
Moeen however dismissed both batsmen to bring England back into contention. The partnership was broken when Tamim was trapped in front shouldering arms and his review was dismissed. During his 147-ball innings, the elegant left-hander executed 12 brilliant boundaries. 19 runs later Mominul was bowled by a straighter delivery from Moeen.
Bangladesh then suddenly seemed to be trapped in panic mode with Stokes's reverse swing. Riyad was the first victim of that. Sabbir Rahman also gave his wicket away to Stokes, fishing at a delivery outside off stump. Before that however, skipper Alastair Cook took a brilliant reflex catch at leg slip to give Moeen the prize wicket of Mushfiqur, who took a little time to walk to the dressing room after being knocked down by a nasty bouncer from Stokes in the previous over.
Bangladesh fielded one pace bowler to bring more spin options including Shuvagata Hom and extended the batting order but once again it proved that a long batting order is not a solution.
Instead, it is more important to execute the plan which was evident in their performance in the first Test in Chittagong and conspicuous in its absence yesterday.
Mehedi continued his brilliance, taking the wickets of Cook and Gary Ballance while Shakib claimed the scalp of Ben Duckett. Much depends on them today if Bangladesh are to put the batting collapse behind and match their Chittagong deeds.