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samircreep
June 19, 2005, 03:50 AM
Hi. I'd like to offer some of my thoughts on the match, including the turning points, and key moments. Those of you who have seen the match, please add your comments.

The Toss: Much has been made on Ponting's decision to bat first and in retrospect, it might look as a poor decision, especially when the skipper himself regrets making the decision in the post-match conference. I'd like to differ. Sure, the pitch did have some juice early on and the Bangladeshi bowlers did seam the ball around a bit. But the truth is, 10 mins after the sun came out, there really wasn't much of a devil anymore.Undoubtedly, this was a toss that Shumon, for a change, was lucky to lose and had Bangladesh batted first, we would have struggled earlier on. But it wasn't the turning point, as I'll elaborate later on.

Aussie Batting: Right from the second ball when Gilly played back to a ball that he should have gone forward to, Aussie batting seemed strangely off key. Although the decision might be debatable, Gilly's mindset was strangely defensive. The situation was aggravated when Ponting took a page out of Golla's book and proceeded to commit hara-kiri by shuffling across the stumps to a straighter one from Tapash. And then from then on, the Aussies looked strangely listless. Sure, they were 3 down pretty soon but given the depth of the Aussie batting order and the failry pedestian attack they were facing, surely getting nito a shell was not really warranted. And that's exactly what they did. They might have scored 98 runs on the last 10 overs, but that's mostly because of the generous servings of full tosses that the Bangladeshi pacers dished out. 250 was never going to be a large total on this pitch.

The Pitch: Which brings me to my next point. The Cardiff pitch seemed a ditto version of the one at Delhi: a bit of a life in the morning, simmering down later, but never fast enough to go for your shots, nor slow to wait and slog. It's a great pitch for skiddy bowlers and accumulators. Where the Aussies went wrong was they wanted to spend too much time in the pitch, perhaps thinking that since the game was already up, might as well get some batting practise for the next match. And it's this compacency that cost them the match.

Ponting's Captaincy: Absolutely rubbish. How Steve Waugh would've have blushed to see his protege making some absolutely ridiculous decisions. The biggest mistake was holding Gillespie off till the 40th over, by the time Ash was well set and had pretty much won the match. His field placings were mind boggling, similar to Shumons in the last match. How else would you explain keeping fine leg up in the last five overs when even an inside edge would race away to the short vertical boundaries. Or not attacking Aftab when he first came in. Or asking Gilly to bowl slower balls when not a single one really bamboozled the Bangladeshi batters.Absolutely silly.

Ash's batting: Prior to the England tour, I had written a short peice on the advantages of percentage cricket, esp if you're a batsman. For once, a Bangladeshi bastman finally followed my advice. Throughout the whole match, Ash played only 2 false shots, one which was an attempted hoik over mid wicket which was never on, while the other was a fluffed catch at fine leg.But aside from those two shots, Ash played with the maturity of a batsman who had won many a matches for his country. It was actually very Miandadesque with his uncanny ability to read the bowler's mind (I cant even remember the last time McGrath hit with such utter disdain) and have perfect clarity of exactly where the fielders were. With both fine leg and thrid man up, Ash played some delictable glances staright from Javed's book. A classy innings but perhaps poniting lost the plot a bit too early.

Aftab's 6: I'm still convinced that had Aftab not hit that particular 6, BD wouldn't have won the macth. Aftab reminds me so much of both Kapali and Laxman (and Damien Martyn too, to name an Aussie player) in the sense that both pick up the length of the ball so early.In this particular case, I knew a slower delivery was coming since third man was up yet again. But the total anticipation on Aftab's part was really uncanny, his timing brilliant. The reast, as they say, is history.

Sham
June 19, 2005, 04:48 AM
I'll add a couple of lines to that. Firstly, I was getting really frustrated watching Bashar bat for a while in the middle overs. I didn't want him to start going nuts because we needed to preserve wickets, but I wanted him to rotate the strike a bit more because we were taking 2 runs an over with Bashar blocking out 4 balls. But then I realized, Bashar isn't and will never be the sort of player to do that. He is a strokeplayer, and yesterday, he curbed his natural style for an impressive length of time, and when he decided to play shots, especially in the air, he hit dead straight, which is the ultimate percentage shot! So, well done to the skipper, his contribution shouldn't be forgotten.

Secondly, the more I think of Ashraful's innings, the more stumped I am by how amazingly mature it was from a sometimes awfully immature kid. Throughout the onslaught period from about the 35th over, he tried to go after the bowling in the first couple of balls in an over, and if he managed a 4, he was just happy to run 3 or 4 more singles just to get enough runs to keep the rrr at 7.5. Usually where people go wrong in trying to maintain a 7.5 rr, which isn't big enough to have a go at every ball, is by not going after the bowling early in an over. People think, 7.5 isn't that much, we'll just keep rotating the strike and look for the bad ball. But after something like 4 singles from 5 balls, you are under pressure to hit the last ball of the over to the boundary, and often people get out trying to do that because the bowler and the fielders are expecting it. However, if you can whack the first ball of an over for four, you've taken off the pressure for rest of the over, and you can just milk the singles without any problem. Brilliant stuff!

mwrkhan
June 19, 2005, 05:49 AM
I was a bit surprised that Australia didn't go for the shorter stuff more often given our batsmen's discomfiture playing the rising ball. I know that in one day cricket only one bouncer per over is allowed but even then Australia (probably alone) has the bowlers who have sufficient control to bowl effective short pitched deliveries without going for wides. All in all a somewhat listless performance by the Aussies.

I think they underestimated us from the beginning, and before they realised it, we were suddenly in a winning position and they were startled.

Sham
June 19, 2005, 05:59 AM
I was also surprised by the lack of short-pitched stuff, but I think after facing Harmy and Flintoff bouncers all summer at 90 mph, 80 mph bouncers wouldn't have caused us the same kind of discomfort.

LateCut
June 19, 2005, 06:11 AM
I think key to their failure is that they did not go after BD bowiling more agressively in the last two overs. The last over was most notable. Full credit to Mashree. But, Ausies were not upto the task. Another 20 runs would have deeply demoralized BD batsmen.

samircreep
June 19, 2005, 07:57 AM
I agree with you guys about theshort stuff. Really strange that they didn't dish out more. There was one particular over from McGrath to Rafique where hi did bowl at the jugular. But aside from that, nada.

As i said, the Aussie bowlers tried to go too much for variation. Bowl short and straight man!

rafiq
June 19, 2005, 11:50 AM
Ashraful got most of his runs - over 40% - in the backwards of square region, and seemed to milk the onside gaps the most. I was surprised by his ability to do that, on occasion picking up balls from the offstump and sending them on their way to the on. Is that where he gets most of his runs on his better innings?

I also noticed we don't play the straight bat as much, and the shortest path to the boundary was straight on.

Ponting's field placements may have been suspect, what of Bashar's? He lacked belief in his bowlers when he failed to place any slips for the pacers or close in fielders for Rafique. I hope that changes next game.

RazabQ
June 19, 2005, 01:39 PM
Well Bashar himself has said - during the Zim series, that he doesn't yet have a handle on what to do when his team is on the fore. It was during that interview/call-in show. It went something like "tokhon je field placing gula korchilam, ami kokhono oi poristhitey pori ni". One has to remember, he never captained at any level before becoming BD skipper, and as our kapitan, one rarely gets a workout in going for the jugular. Ithought his innings was crucial in calming Ash down.

sadhat
June 19, 2005, 01:53 PM
Add to this, Tushar Imran 24 pump up team spirit.