England saved by the Bell on day one at Old Trafford
A hard fought 87 from Ian Bell spared serious blushes as Bangladesh bowled well after England opted to bat on day one at Old Trafford.
After tame displays at Lord’s, Robiul Islam and Rubel Hossain were both replaced by Abdur Razzak and Shafiul Islam. England quickly worked to dominate proceedings with boundaries from both openers, but the changes certainly gave Bangladesh’s bowling attack a much needed breath of fresh air.
Shafiul Islam, playing in only his fifth Test match, bowled with lively pace and it was the 20-year-old who dealt the early blows. First removing Captain Strauss, who was soon followed back to the pavilion by Jonathan Trott.
Recalled spinner Razzak then justified his selection, getting Alistair Cook to edge to slip and continue his poor start to the summer. Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell then guided a vulnerable England to 92-3 at lunch.
Both men began well after lunch easing nerves in the dressing room. Pietersen raced to his half-century but a well flighted delivery from Shakib-Al-Hasan turned away from the England batsman allowing a simple stumping for Rahim. The star man yet again left plenty of room for further criticism after what many would describe as a very careless shot.
Bell fought his way through some tough spells to pass the 50 mark, as he and Morgan looked to pull England into a better position. The pair appeared comfortable before a stunning one-handed catch in the gully from Jahurul saw the back or Morgan after a loose cut shot.
At 223-5 the pressure was well and truly on the hosts and it showed as Matt Prior struggled from the off and was lucky to not be caught at slip from the impressive Razzak.
But Prior grafted through and Bell accelerated towards the end of the evening session. England ending on 275-5 when bad light brought the day to a premature end.
England’s bowlers will be quietly confident about the work ahead. Shafiul showed that the pitch carries well and Graeme Swann will be licking his lips after seeing turn and bounce for all the Bangladeshi spinners.
Credit must go to the Bangladesh selectors who seem to have made two very good choices with their changes. This was a huge improvement from the tourists and it was undoubtedly their day having been asked to bowl.
Ian Bell will need to push well into the hundreds to aid England in constructing a decent first innings total. The Tigers will hope for early wickets and to make another solid start to their innings with the bat.