DHAKA: England all-rounder Chris Woakes on Saturday urged his teammates to take the fight to Bangladesh after the hosts seized the driving seat in the topsy-turvy second Test of the series.
Woakes scored an invaluable 46 batting at number nine to help England score 244 runs in the first innings and gain what could be a very vital 24-run lead.
Bangladesh spinners put England on the ropes once again to leave them at 144-8 at the lunch break before Woakes and Adil Rashid (44 not out) shared 99 runs for the ninth wicket to lift the side.
Apart from Joe Root, who made 56 off 122 balls, none of England’s top-six batsmen could contribute significantly to the visitors’ first innings score.
Bangladesh quickly reached 152-3 at stumps on the second day, leading by 128 runs with seven wickets in hand and leaving England in danger of losing their perfect record against the Test minnows.
“We need guys at the top of the order and the middle of the order to put some partnerships together and build scores that way and then put the pressure on the Bangladeshi bowlers,” Woakes said after the second day’s play.
Woakes hoped bowlers would also work to limit their target to 250 runs on a surface, which he said offered a lot of help to spinners.
“I’d like to think we can chase 250,” he said.
“We got 240 in the first innings with myself and Rash (Rashid) putting on quite a big partnership.
“Partnerships throughout the whole innings will be crucial,” he said.
Woakes added that the Test is evenly balanced at the moment but could have been difficult without his partnership with Rashid.
“The partnership between me and Rash was pleasing to get us from looking like we were going to be behind to getting ahead of them.
“We’re really pleased from that point of view,” he said.
Bangladesh went for almost five runs in an over in the final session as Imrul Kayes scored a half-century and shared 86 runs with Mahmudullah for the third wicket.
Zafar Ansari bowled Mahmudullah off the last ball of the day to restore some parity, which Woakes believed was crucial.
“It would have been nice to have got a couple more wickets tonight and maybe for less runs,” he said.
“But it is what it is and that wicket at the end probably gives us a little bit of confidence going into tomorrow.”