The World Champions Australia were made to toil hard under the sun in chasing a moderate target of 196. Adam Gilchrist started off the Australian chase with a bang getting a 28-ball fifty with some spanking shots on both sides of the wicket. Gilchrist was the first man to go for Australia after he picked the wrong ball to sweep from young left arm spinner Abdur Razzak. Gilchrist was out for a 46-ball 76 and when he was out the Australians were at 96 for 1 after 10.5 overs. The Australians then took about 33 more overs to score the remaining 100 runs as the Bangladeshi spinners spun a web around them and made life extremely difficult by not bowling any loose deliveries. The pair of Hussey and Lee eventually saw the Australians through but not before they spent quiet a lot of time at the crease.
Abdur Razzak picked up two more wickets after Gilchrist that of Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting both getting out to lbw decisions like Gilchrist. Razzak bowled a superb spell mixing up his slow left arm orthodox with some terrific arm balls as the Australian batsmen struggled to make up their minds whether to play on the frontfoot or the backfoot. The other senior left arm spinner Mohammad Rafique had suffocated the Aussies from his end giving away nothing and ending his quota of 10 overs with just 14 runs. He however couldn’t get any wicket. Razzak ended up with 3 for 36. But for Gilchrist’s knock, Australia could have lost this match as their batsmen struggled to keep the runs ticking against the turning ball. Gilchrist after sighting a couple of overs tore apart the Bangladeshi attack smashing them for 9 fours and 5 sixes before going down to Razzak. Infact it was sweet revenge for Razzak after getting hit for a couple of sixes from the left hander.
Bangladesh this morning had won a good toss and elected to bat with the conditions perfectly suited for the batsmen. But their top order with the exception of skipper Habibul Bashar faltered playing some mindless shots and the innings eventually closed at 195 all out with 3 full overs to go. Bashar had got useful partnerships with Aftab Ahmed and Khaled Mashud and Bangladesh at one stage looked to get over 220. And that would have been a total that could have given Bangladesh a chance of winning this game with the track aiding the spinners as the match went along. Bradley Hogg, the chinaman bowler took three wickets including his 100th one in ODIs after Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee had done the damage to the top order taking a couple of wickets each. This match saw the One Day International Debut of the young off spinner Dan Cullen who bowled a tight spell but wasn’t lucky enough to take a wicket.
Adam Gilchrist who played that swashbuckling knock was rightly awarded the Man of the Match as he single handedly took the game away from Bangladesh in just about 11 overs of his stay at the crease. Australians would like to bat better the next time they face the Bangladeshi spinners and for Bangladesh they would believe that they had a decent outing today. Their batsmen need to put on their heads down and bat sensibly and some one needs to play the sheet anchor’s role often if they have to consistently compete at the International Level. The next clash is on the 26th where the Australians would be looking to play much better cricket than what they did today and win convincingly.