Sunday, July 20, 2003

The game ends as expected

Before the test match against Bangladesh, some people speculated that all sorts of records would result from its one sidedness. Would Australia score 1000 runs? Would the match be over in one day? Would Bangladesh be bowled out for the lowest score in test history? That kind of thing. My fellow ubersportingpundit Scott Wickstein said that he didn't expect these kinds of records to be broken, and I agreed. Good strong Australian performances and innings victories were likely in about three days.

And that is what happened. This morning Bangladesh continued their second innings after a good start last night and although they batted better than in the first innings, they were again outclassed. Hannan Sarkar was out early for 35, and the wickets then fell steadily, particularly after Habibul Bashar was bowled by MacGill for 54. Al Sahariar held one end up (eventually being the last man out for 36) and as well as being the best of the Bangladeshi bowlers, Mashrafe Mortaza made one over off MacGill entertaining, by scoring 15 runs from five balls (including two fours and a six) before being run out off the last ball. Still, Bangladesh were bowled out for 178, with Australia winning by an innings and 132 runs. A very heavy defeat, but to be fair Australia have inflicted defeats this heavy (or even heavier) on much higher rated sides in recent years.

Although there were no records set of the kind outlined in the first paragraph, Steve Waugh set a number of individual career records. Besides scoring a century against a ninth opponent, his 31st test century puts him equal second on the all time centurians record with 31 - equal with Sachin Tendulkar. Sunil Gavaskar holds the overall record with 33. It will be fun to see whether Waugh or Tendulkar will break Gavaskar's record first. If Waugh manages to play until Australia's tour of India next year, as he has said he would like to, he will play at least another 15 tests. (One more game against Bangladesh, two home games against Zimbabwe, four home games against India, three away games against Sri Lanka, two home games against Sri Lanka, and three away games against India. There are also still a couple of gaps in the program which may get filled in, although this is more likely to be with one day games than tests). Three centuries in that time seems pretty likely. The question is whether Tendulkar can break the record first. (In the long run, Tendulkar is undoubtedly going to hold the record, and may score 40 or even 50 test centuries. But Waugh may be able to hold it for a short while).

Plus of course Steve Waugh has now won more tests than any other captain, going ahead of Clive Lloyd of the West Indies. Given his various personal achievements in the match, his man of the match award was very well deserved.

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