In the first ever test match played at the Marrara Oval in Darwin between Australia and Bangladesh, the Bangladeshis peformed better than what most Australian commentators and former players had expected. The match was billed as the greatest mismatch in test-cricket history as the match had the best teams of test cricket from either ends. Australia, the best test team from the top and Bangladesh, the best test team from the bottom. In Day 1, Banladesh, who were put into bat by the Austarlian captain, Steve Waugh after losing the toss were able to defy the Australian bowling attack for 42.2 overs before they were blown off for 97. Later on, the Bangladeshis gave Australia a 24 run lead as Australia crawled to 121/2.
1st Session: Hannan Sarkar and Javed Omar Belim Golla, the new look opening pair for Bangladesh in test cricket could share a partnership of just 4 between themselves before Hannan Sarkar was trapped lbw in the 5th over by Glenn McGrath. Habibul Bashar Sumon, the best Bangladeshi batsmen in test cricket till now, wasnt able to continue the form he had shown in the home test series against South Africa. Belim Golla and Sumon shared a valuable partnership of 22 runs defying the Australian bowling attack for half an hour before Belim Golla was caught behind off a Jason Gillespie delivery to leave Bangladesh at 26/2. Habibul Bashar Sumon, then fell soon as well as he was bowled off a fiery delivery from Brett Lee after making a 28-ball 16(1x4). A mini-collapse started after his dismissal as the Bangladeshis lost a couple of quick wickets with Brett Lee and Stuart McGill taking 1 apiece. Al-Shariar Rokon being the first to fall for a 2-ball duck bowled by Brett Lee. Alok Kapali, the star of the ICC Champions Trophy match between Bangladesh and Australia in September, where he made a patient 45 runs, wasnt able to show the same form as he was out for a 9-ball duck off Stuart McGill. Mohammed Ashraful, who was watching all the wickets fall at the other end, decided not to throw away his. He was determined to prove all the bad comments made by the Australian media about Bangladesh. Ashraful shared a useful 20 run patnership with the former Bangladeshi captain and the current wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud Pilot. Just when Ashraful and Pilot were looking set to play until lunch without losing any further wickets, they got a horrid shock when Ashraful was caught of by Jason Gillespie Dizzy off the bowling of Glenn McGrath just a few minutes before lunch. Then, the current Bangladeshi captain, Khaled Mahmud Sujon came out to join the former captain and his other name sake, Khaled Mashud Pilot and the 2 were able to bat till lunch. At lunch Bangladesh were 63/6 off 29 overs with Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee each picking up 2 wickets and Jason Gillespie and Stuart McGill picking up 1 wicket apiece.
2nd Session: Pilot and Sujon shared a valuable stand of 27 among themselves as they took Bangladesh from a disastrous 60/6 to a fairly respectable 87/6. They defied the Australian bowling even beyond the drinks break of the 2nd session. In the 39th over of the Bangladeshi Innings, bowled by Glenn McGrath, Khaled Mahmud Sujon hit 2 consecutive fours before the bowler had his revenge on Pilot as he trapped him lbw off the last ball of his over for a 63-ball 11(1x4). Stuart McGill then removed the other "Khaled" as well in the next over of the innings as he was caught behind of a McGill delivery for a well made 39-ball 21(3x4). Bangladesh at this stage were reeling at 91/8. Jason gillespie Dizzy again struck in the 42nd over as he had Mashrafe-bin-Mortaza, a useful lower-order batsmen for Bangladesh out for a 5-ball 3. Brett Lee then performed the last rites of the Bangladeshi innings as he removed Monjural Islam for a 3-ball 1 to end the Bangladeshi innings at 97 off 42.2 overs. All of the Australian bowlers added a wicket each to what they had before lunch. Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee picked up 3 each and Jason Gillespie Dizzy and Stuart McGill chipped in with 2.
Australia, unexpectedly were off a slow and shaky start as they lost Matthew Hayden, their opener who was being widely referred as the new Bradman for Australia. Hayden made a 23-ball 11(2x4) before he was bowled off a Mashrafe-Bin-Mortaza delivery in the 8th over to have Australia at 13/1. Justin Langer then combined with the current Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, well known as Punter to take Australia to lunch without any further loss of wickets. At lunch, Australia were comfortably placed at 31/1 off 13 overs with a deficit of 66 with 9 more wickets still in hand. The Australians wore black arm bands as a sign or respect to John Scholes, former Victoria player/coach whose passed away on July 14, 2003.
3rd Session: Hayden and Ponting shared a partnership of 30 before Ponting was out in the 19th over caught by Belim Golla off Tapash Baisya for a 28-ball 10(1x4). Darren Lehmann then joined Justin Langer and the two ensured that Australia didnt recieve anymore scares as they shared an unbeaten stand of 78 off the remaining 26.4 overs to end the day at a comfortable 121/2 taking a lead of 24 runs against the minnows.
For Bangladesh, this performance was a good effort by the players as they prevented Australia from making any test records and in the end it seemed a normal days play. Even scoring 97 against Australia, is a great effort by the Bangladeshi players. For Day-2, what Bangladesh will be trying is to bowl out this Australian side as quickly as possible whereas Australia will be looking to get a comfortable lead before declaration. Bangladesh, who are aiming to strecth this test match into 4 days atleast will be looking forward to their second innings. The batsmen really have to defy this Australian bowling for more overs. Even if the batsmen survive 80 overs against this attack, they should be satisfied with their performance. All the best to Whatmore and the Bangladeshi cricketers.