30 August 2008
Bangladesh have suffered one of their heaviest losses in the ODI history in the opening match of the three match Commonwealth Bank series against Australia at Marrara cricket ground in Darwin today. Bangladesh could only manage 74 runs before getting all out in just 27.4 overs in response to 254 for 8 posted by Australia. This is Bangladesh's lowest ODI total since they were introduced to the ODI scene in 1986.
Only 3 of Bangladesh's 11 batsmen could reach the double figures and all of them surrendered without any hint of fight. There was little venom on the pitch but Bangladesh batsmen played rash shots and were without any game plan against a relatively weaker Australian line up.
None of the Bangladeshi batsmen looked comfortable in the middle and they struggled to cope against the disciplined Aussie bowling attack right from the beginning. Mehrab Hossain was the first man to go after misjudging the line of an incoming delivery which rapped him on the pads in front of middle stump. Fellow opener Tamim Iqbal played one shot too many and slashed a wide delivery to the hands of debutant Brett Geeves after making a 31 ball 21.
Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful was next to follow as he played an ugly heave across the line against a fiery Mitchell Johnson and was adjudged LBW leaving his team in a dire situation. It was possibly one of worst shots ever played by the captain of any international side considering the match situation.
Ashraful later blamed the batsmen for the debacle but ironically it was Ashraful who led the rot with an inexplicable wild swing, and set a very bad example for the rest of the batsmen, who matched their skipper with equally stupid shots.
"We just did not turn up in batting today. The pitch was not conducive to stroke making and their bowlers did not give any loose balls. When you are not scoring runs easily that creates pressure and you make mistakes. Our shot selection was very poor and when you are 5/58 inside 20 overs there is no coming back," said Ashraful who also refused to blame the pitch.
"It was not like the Gardens Oval track where balls come on to the bat and you can play strokes. This one's a drop-in wicket and the bounce is up and down sometimes and something like 220 or 230 can be a defendable total. Having said that I don't think it is that difficult to stay at the wicket if you apply yourself. We were guilty of bringing about our own downfalls."
Bangladesh coah Jamie Siddons rather surprisingly claimed that his boys were scared of Aussie openeing bowler Mitchell Johnson which caused their downfall. Bangladesh are yet to win any match against a major nation since Siddons took the charge in last October.
Earlier, Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful won the toss and opted to invite Australia to bat first. Australia made a breezy start as the opening bowlers failed to make any early break through. Shahadat Hossain completely wasted the new ball as he sprayed the ball all over the pitch and conceded 10 run per over.
Bangladesh spinners restored some order and Australia were restricted to 254 for 8. Mike Hussey top scored for Australia with a classy 87 ball 85 while opener Shaun Marsh scored a battling 76 and helped Australia to cross 250 run mark.
For Bangladesh Shahadat Hossain was the most successfull bowler with 3 wickets for 42 runs after a dramatic final over in which he grabbed 3 wickets in 4 balls and narrowly missed the hattrick. Slow left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan bowled impressively and bagged 2 wickets for 46 runs while Razzak, Nazmul and Alok chipped in with 1 wicket each.
The second match of the series will be played at the same ground on 3 September 2008.