amitting article of BD v AUS 3rd odi, Darwin 2003
Australia struggle to beat Bangladesh
In the 3rd ODI played between Australia and Bangladesh, the highly overrated Australian team struggled again to beat the so-called minnows Bangladesh. Australia, who decided to bat after winning the toss, were off to a slow start making just 54 runs in their first 12 overs at a poor run-rate of 4.5. Australia, at one stage, at the end of the 7th over, were struggling to even score freely as they crawled to 21/0 in as many as 7 overs at a run rate of just 3!
Mohammed Rafique, a left arm spinner for Bangladesh, struck in his very first over with his second ball removing Adam Gilchrist out for 31. Australia, later on started building on a partnership between Hayden, who struggled to score making only 42 runs in 72 balls at a strike rate of 58.33. The Australian struggle against left arm spinners continued as Matthew Hayden was caught and bowled by Mohammed Rafique. With Haydens wicket, the Australian innings began to collapse as Australia lost 3 wickets for just 2 runs. At this stage, Bangladesh had Australia reeling at 114/4 after 27 overs. Bangladesh clearly were dominating the over-rated Aussies till here, with Australia struggling at 114/4 and with Mohammed Rafiques performance, some memories of the super-6 match played between Australia and Kenya began to emerge as Australia had collapsed to 117/5 losing 3 quick wickets and also struggled against a Kenyan left-arm spinner Asif Karim.
The first 30 overs of the match clearly belonged to Bangladesh, with Australia crawling to 120/4 at a run-rate of just 4. Bangladesh at this stage, were looking set to restrict Australia to less than 225 and cause one of the biggest upsets in cricketing history. But, the inexperience of Bangladesh showed as Australia fought back with their crisis-man Micheal Bevan and their Cool Captain Ricky Ponting to help Australia reach 241/4 after 47.4 overs. Another collapse towards the end of the Australian innings triggered by Mashrafe Mortaza helped Bangladesh keep Australia in control to just 254. 254 was a very poor batting performance by Australia as Bangladesh, who had made 295 in their 1st innings in the 2nd test, were clearly looking to win this one.
Bangladesh were off to a cautious start making just 24/1 in 13.1 overs with Javed Omar making a slow 16 off 55 balls. A small-collapse had Bangladesh reeling at 36/5, but with the help of Sanwar Hossain and Alok Kapali, fought back to bring Bangladesh right back into the game as they shared a partnership of 66 in just 16 overs. Alok Kapali, was the hero of Bangladesh as he made 49 tuns off just 64 balls against an attack which comprised bowlers like McGrath, Gillespie and Lee. Bangladesh were all out fighting for 142 and lost the match by 112 runs and also showed the world that Aussies can be beaten. Australia won the match only due to the inexperience of the Bangladeshi cricketers.
Another thing to come out of the match and shown by teams like Bangladesh and Kenya is just the Aussie batsmen just struggle against left-arm spin, be it from any bowler from any team. The Australians are not used to playing left-arm spin well and find the bowling unplayable. Asif Karim showed that in the World cup super-6 match, where he returned with the most economical bowling figures against a test-playing nation in the world cup of 8.2-3-7-3, which at 1 stage were a remarkable 8-3-2-3 at just 0.25 economy. Mohammed Rafique, continued it and showed the Aussie struggle against left-arm spinners is no fluke. Rafique took 2/31 in his 10 overs and these 2 bowlers have shown to the world that to beat Australia, you need left-arm spinners.