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Bangladesh stretch lead after Gilchrist ton

By Staff
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FATULLAH, Bangladesh, Apr 11 (Reuters) Bangladesh enjoyed a solid start to their second innings to reach the tea interval on the third day of the first test against Australia firmly in control at 41 without loss today, a lead of 199 runs.

First innings centurion Shahriar Nafees had scored 28 with fellow opener Javed Omar on eight in the eight overs they faced before the break after dismissing Australia for 269.

A brilliant Adam Gilchrist dominated the first two sessions of the day, the Australian wicketkeeper striking a 16th test century to help the tourists avoid the follow-on and post a competitive total.

After registering an imposing 427 in their first innings, the home side held a commanding 158-run first innings lead after they bundled out the visitors when Mohammad Rafique had Gilchrist (144) caught by Shahadat Hossain at deep square leg.

Rafique also removed Jason Gillespie (26) and Stuart Clark (0) to take his seventh test five-wicket haul (5-62) with the veteran spinner capturing the three wickets to fall after lunch.

Gilchrist hit six huge sixes and 14 fours in his innings, for a welcome return to form for the prolific left-hander who endured a disappointing Ashes series against England last year and had been struggling to rediscover his touch.

Australia did well to avoid the follow-on as Gilchrist batted superbly with the tail-enders to take his side from 93-6 at one stage to within 160 runs of Bangladesh's total.

Resuming on 145-6, Australia lost the wicket of Brett Lee in the morning session lbw to Mashrafe Mortaza for 15, but fast bowler Jason Gillespie gave Gilchrist good support.

Bangladesh have won only one of their 42 test matches since 2000, that victory coming over a depleted Zimbabwe side.

The Bangladeshis lost their two previous tests against Australia in 2003 by an innings.

The second and last match of the series starts in Chittagong on Sunday.

REUTERS PM PM1540

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