Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Final post on Australia versus Bangladesh

Yes, the cricket blogging has been a bit heavy this week, due to the fact that I was catching up with games that occurred while I was away as well as those that were taking place as I was blogging. (Also, there is the fact that quite a lot was going on, especially regarding South Africa versus England).

In any event, Bangladesh's tour of Australia finished yesterday with the final one day international in Darwin. Some people had been wondering how large a score Australia would make when they got to bat first, and today we had an opportunity to find out. What we got was typical of games on this tour. A good score, but no records set. Bangladesh showed some fight at times, but couldn't keep the pressure consistently on the Australians.

As I said, Australia batted first, after winning the toss. There was no fiddling with the batting order today, presumably because everyone of importance got at least one bat in the first two games, and Australia just played normally. The openers scored a few runs before getting out, Gilchrist for 31 and Hayden for 42. The score was then 2/112 but then dropped to 4/114, with Martyn and Symonds both out cheaply. (Symonds in particular will be annoyed with himself, having been out cheaply in both innings he played in the series). Bangladesh were doing well, and the Australians were careful after this, but captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Bevan stopped the rot, Bevan scoring 57 and Ponting 101, the only century of the tournament. Australia ended up with a good but not great 7/254 off their 50 overs.

Judging by their scores in the first two matches, this was never likely to be enough. Once Bangladesh had slumped to 5/36, something really embarassing for the Bangladeshis looked possible. However, thanks mainly to 49 from Alok Kapali they managed to bat out most of their 50 overs, being finally out for 142 in the 48th, losing by 112 runs.

So, what can be said? In the tests and ODIs against Bangladesh, Australia did not set any records in terms of scores or margins of victory. However, the games were not close either. Australia were not quite at their best, but most players got in a good performance somewhere in the series. Bangladesh had their moments, but were when it came down to it several classes below the Australians. Much work needs to be done in Bangladesh, particularly in terms of creating a strong and competitive domestic competition of some kind.

As for the experiment of cricket in Australia's north, all reports are it came off well. Crowds were often close to 10000, which is decent considering the small sizes of the cities in question. The weather was good for cricket, the grounds were up to scratch, and the spectators apparently enjoyed the fact that the Australian cricket team had come to them rather than being many thousands of miles away. Things should be even better next season when Sri Lanka tour and Australia are playing a good side. On that occasion Australia will have to do more preparation. This year they played no warm up matches and had no training camp before the series. Do that against Sri Lanka and you are asking for trouble. How the Australians will fit this all into their crowded program and how much the players will complain remains to be seen.

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