Birthday boy Tamim flays England attack

DHAKA: Tamim Iqbal celebrated his birthday with an explosive 85 as Bangladesh posted 330-8 on the opening day of the second and final Test against England on Saturday.

The left-handed opener, who turned 21, put the England attack to the sword in a magnificent display of strokeplay, smashing one six and 13 fours in his 71-ball knock. He completed his half-century off just 34 balls.

Mohammad Mahmudullah (59), skipper Shakib Al Hasan (49), Junaid Siddique (39) and wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim (30) fell when looking well-set. Naeem Islam was unbeaten on 33 at the close.

England had to work hard for wickets but still did not allow the hosts to build a big partnership on a batsman-friendly track, with spinners Graeme Swann (3-94) and James Tredwell (2-85) being the main wicket-takers.

Tamim looked set to achieve a rare feat of scoring a century in the opening session before being caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior while attempting to sweep debutant Tredwell nine overs before the lunch break.

Only Australians Victor Trumper, Charles Macartney and Don Bradman, and Pakistan's Majid Khan have scored a century in the opening session of a Test.

"I would have got it (the century) if I had stayed there until lunch. But there was nothing like that in my plan. I was just enjoying batting," said Tamim.

"Of course, I am very disappointed. Not just because I missed it on my birthday but for the team. I think if I had played a big innings, we would have scored 400 runs.

"If you look at the scoreboard, Shakib, Mahmudullah and I got out after getting a start. Someone needed to score 100 or more."

Swann and Tredwell shared three wickets in the space of 48 runs to reduce the hosts to 167-4 in the afternoon, but Mahmudullah and Shakib steadied the innings with a 59-run stand for the fifth wicket.

"I've worked really hard on this tour and got the results. The ball came out nicely and caused a few problems to the batsmen," said Tredwell.

"The pitch seems docile like the one in Chittagong and it's going to be tough to get 20 wickets. To get eight on the first day is a decent effort.

"I think we are slightly ahead, but probably honours are even. With the kind of start Bangladesh had, we are happy to get them eight down."

The hosts were comfortably placed at 119-1 in the morning before losing Tamim, debutant Jahurul Islam and Siddique.

Tamim, who offered two chances, added 53 for the first wicket with Imrul Kayes (12) and 66 for the next with Siddique.

He was on 11 when he slashed paceman Tim Bresnan in the day's second over but Paul Collingwood failed to hold the ball after getting his hand to it at second slip.

Tamim was on 35 when let off again, this time skipper Alastair Cook dropping him at mid-on off paceman Stuart Broad.

The England fast bowler, however, got a wicket in the same over when he had Kayes superbly caught by Steven Finn, who ran in from mid-off and dived to his right to latch on to the drive.

Bresnan was replaced by Swann after conceding 23 in his opening three overs, but runs continued to flow as the hosts raced to 95 in the opening hour.

Tamim greeted Swann with two fours in the bowler's opening over before smashing him for three boundaries and a six over long-on off successive deliveries to complete his sixth Test half-century.