Duckett and Hameed boost Test chances with half-centuries


Paternity leave is not a phrase in cricket's vast and varied vocabulary, so the England captain, Alastair Cook, flew back to Chittagong for Thursday's first Test against Bangladesh shortly after the birth of his second daughter.

Cook, who spent 10 days acclimatising to conditions in Bangladesh at the start of the tour, landed back in Chittagong yesterday after his wife Alice gave birth to a baby girl over the weekend.

Duckett retired at lunch having made 60 as England drew against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI - their final day of match practice before the Test - and Hameed stood down on 57 not out.

However, Broad who will lead the pace attack in the two-match Test series in the absence of James Anderson said the Essex batsman is confident of joining the squad soon.

Odds of 13/2 in a two-horse race may look favourable, but it would be a major surprise if England (8/13) don't emerge with at least a share of the spoils in the coming two-Test series.

Duckett has put himself firmly in the frame for consideration as an opener or in the middle order following a phenomenal past few weeks in which he has amassed four half-centuries in his last five innings in Bangladesh.

Finn said: "I think you'd be a bit anxious if it was someone who was less experienced, I suppose, and hadn't experienced these conditions before and spent time in the middle because that's important".

England were seemingly still undecided about Cook s opening partner, with Ben Duckett and teenager Haseeb Hameed both remaining in contention.

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The Yorkshireman, who scored 24 before being caught behind to become one of Tanveer Haider's four victims, was one of a quartet of England players - along with Ben Stokes (25), Ballance and Chris Woakes (23) - to get starts.

"It's been a insane few months, there's really no other word to describe it", said Duckett.

"He's a hugely impressive player", Broad said of Duckett.

Broad and Gareth Batty bagged a couple of wickets apiece, giving England's batsmen the chance to push their case for inclusion in the Test series on Monday.

While Duckett reached his fifty and was back in the hutch for the afternoon session on Monday, Hameed was happy to stay patient and he reached his half-century before the tea interval, when he also retired out. I'm feeling good at the top of the order but I'd take any chance.

"Playing for England is a dream for me and every other cricketer".

England finished at the midway point of their two-day practice match on two without loss after the BCB XI collapsed from 207 for two to 294 all out, with Zafar Ansari finishing as the pick of the bowlers with four for 68.