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Harmison lifts the gloom

Dhaka: English pacer Stephen Harmison took two quick wickets as Bangladesh struggled on a rain-hit opening day of their first-ever Test against England here on Tuesday.

Harmison surprised the batsmen with both pace and bounce as the home side was reduced to 24 for two in the 64 minutes of play at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Electing to bat, Bangladesh saw off the first four overs without any loss, but were pushed back on resumption after more than two sessions were lost due to wet ground conditions. Opener Javed Omar (3) was beaten by bounce and Habibul Bashar (2) by pace as Bangladesh stuttered in their effort to cope with rising expectations after a recent spirited display in Pakistan.

Omar was surprised by the bounce of a Harmison delivery around the off stump, failing to keep the ball down as debutant Rikki Clarke pouched the catch safely at gully. Bashar followed soon after, trying to drive and edging to Marcus Trescothick at first slip.

If Harmison was quick off the wicket, his new-ball partner Matthew Hoggard moved the ball appreciably to trouble the batsmen time and again. Opener Hannan Sarkar (18) and Rajin Saleh (0) were the not out batsmen when the umpires offered to stop the game for the day because of bad light.

The umpires had decided to have 19 overs after resumption but were forced to call off play for the day after just 11 despite the support of floodlights in that session.

Only four overs had been bowled when rain played spoilsport with Bangladesh at one without loss in four overs. Umpires Ashoka De Silva and Aleem Dar, in consultation with Match Referee Wasim Raja, resumed play after repeated inspections.

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