July 5, 2003

Bangladesh eke out thrilling victory

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Bangladesh set themselves up for the daunting task of a Test series against Australia with a thrilling victory over the Commonwealth Bank Academy at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Set 230 to win, they overcame a mid-innings wobble to eke home with just six minutes, and two wickets, to spare.

Mohammad Ashraful anchored the innings with a classy 61, while Alok Kapali chipped in with a pugnacious 44. But it was the two senior men, the Khaleds - Mashud and Mahmud - who did the damage late on with some adventurous shotmaking. Both made 28, and Mahmud - the captain - finished things off with a four over mid-on.

The result was set up by the academy declaring their innings at 203 for 4 earlier in the day. Resuming at 99 for 4, Aaron Nye and Callum Ferguson were largely untroubled in the morning session. Nye hit three big sixes and was unbeaten on 89 when the declaration came, with Ferguson not out on 48.

Bangladesh started poorly, with Mark Cleary nipping out both Javed Omar and Habibul Bashar early in the innings. Ashraful put the innings back on track, but his dismissal - caught behind off Steven Magoffin - left Bangladesh in dire straits at 134 for 5. But Kapali, Mashud and Mahmud then combined to see it home, upping the run-rate to decisive effect after a period of consolidation. For the Academy, Peter Worthington took 3 for 31.

The declarations were pivotal in ensuring a result, but Bangladesh won't care too much. For a team starved of any sort of success, even against the likes of Canada, this is a massive shot in the arm. Mind you, it's Australia that await just up the road.