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Bangladesh In Box Seat
09 Apr 2006
By: Archie Mac


In Bangladesh David has Goliath on his knees, thanks to a magnificent century from opener Shahriar Nafees, which left the home side 355/5 at stumps.

In humid enervating conditions, Habibul Bashar won the toss and elected to bat, on a flat dry pitch. From the start the Bangladesh openers seemed comfortable against the number one cricket team in the world.

Javed Omar and Nafees set off at almost five an over before Omar 27 (40 balls) was trapped LBW to the bowling of recalled paceman Jason Gillespie, the wicket falling at 51.

The turning point of the match took place when the Bangladesh captain Bashar joined Nafees in a 187 run second wicket partnership. Both players went for their shots, against an Australian side that looked both tired and flat.

This in no way should detract from the batting of both players, with Habibul Bashar (76) playing many fine pull shots off all the paceman. He was disappointingly dismissed in the last over before the tea break, attempting yet another pull stroke only to sky the ball to Brett Lee (mid-on) off the bowling of Stuart MacGill. The score was a commanding 238/2 at tea.

The hero for Bangladesh was Shahriar Nafees who played some classic drives and sweeps to post not only his first Test century, but his initial first class ton as well. He was particularly severe on Shane Warne refusing to let the great leg-spinner find a length.

Warne was later to leave the field for treatment to an arm injury, and finished with the poor bowling figures of 0-112 from twenty overs.

Nafees was eventually dismissed for 138 bowled behind his legs by MacGill. This left the score at 265/3 the ideal platform for excitement machine Mohammad Ashraful to come to the crease.

He did not disappoint; mixing some lovely cricket shots with some backyard slogs he raced to 29 from just 28 deliveries before being dismissed LBW to the pick of the Australian bowlers Jason Gillespie.

The last wicket to fall was that of Aftab Ahmed who was surprisingly dismissed for 29 caught off a full-blooded pull shot from the bowling of MacGill. Ahmed had looked quite secure and left the field shaking his head in disbelief.

It was no surprise that the best Australian bowlers were the new additions MacGill and Gillespie. The bowlers from the recent arduous South African series looked badly in need of rest. Even Adam Gilchrist looked weary in missing two catches.

With the pitch almost certain to take spin in the next couple of days, the home side have a huge chance to apply some real pressure to the Australian batting line-up.

Bangladesh 355-5
Shahriar Nafees 138, Habibul Bashar 76, Rajin Saleh 35*
Stuart MacGill 3-82, Jason Gillespie 2-36

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