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Rupert Wyman 19th Mar 2010 - 15:28

Captain all set to Cook up another win

Playing Bangladesh is really a no win situation for England as if they win then that is the least that is expected but if they lose or even draw then the criticism will be unrelenting.

Therefore while the selectors may feel it is the ideal opportunity to rest Andrew Strauss, as the Three Lions take on the weakest Test playing nation there can be no let up for stand-in captain Alastair Cook.

Cook led the side to victory in the first Test in Chittagong but in the end the tourists had to struggle across the line as after dominating the first two days, during the final three England toiled as they forced the win.

This came as a result of selecting only four bowlers on an ultra-flat wicket. The sensible thing to do would have been to play a second spinner, James Tredwell, so that he could bowl in tandem with man-of-the-match Graeme Swann, especially as front line seamer Stuart Broad was lacking in fitness.

Nevertheless England's batsmen posted a huge first innings score and that combined with Swann's bowling figures of 10-217 were enough to see them home and enable Cook to claim his first Test victory as captain.

It is therefore surprising that England look set to go in again with four bowlers in the second Test in Dhaka.

The pitch in the Bangladeshi capital should offer a little more for the bowlers than last week's pitch but it is still expected to be a flat track, much like they all are in the sub-continent, so the bowlers will be in for a hard time yet again.

However, one can still expect England to win (1/3) and wrap up the two-match Test series as even if Cook only has four bowlers at his disposal then the away attack will still be far superior to Bangladesh's.

Swann is unsurprisingly the favourite to be the top England bowler at 6/4, but the value in this market looks to be Middlesex's Steven Finn at 5/1. Finn bowled well in Chittagong with just the two wickets as reward, but it was his Test debut and he can be expected to improve further in Dhaka.

Cook posted a captain's innings of 173 in the first Test to take the top batsman spoils. He is 3/1 favourite to do so again but I would prefer to be on fellow Chittagong centurion Paul Collingwood at 5/1. Colly has the gritty game that is often needed for these wickets and at the price he is a bit of value.

For Bangladesh their captain Shakib Al Hasan failed twice with the bat in the first Test but he is a talented all-rounder who is due a score and a chance is taken on him at 11/2 to top score for the hosts.

However, despite Shakib's efforts it shouldn't be enough to deny England another win as Captain Cook bids to continue his relatively good start as the stand-in captain.



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