July 13, 2003

Bangladesh secure second victory before first Test

Wisden CricInfo staff

Bangladesh gave themselves a timely confidence-boost on the eve of their first Test against the top-ranked Australians by beating the Northern Territory Chief Minister's XI by two wickets in Darwin today.

The tourists made relatively light work of the conditions, which had earlier troubled the home team during their second innings. Resuming at 90 for 4 on the final day with another 97 runs required for victory, Bangladesh required steady nerves more than anything else.

Al Sahariar provided much of that by scoring a patient 41. He lost Khaled Mashud when the score was on 122, but Alok Kapali put his head down and gritted out 18 runs to help Al Sahariar take the score through to 167. But then a double breakthrough caused another flutter in the Bangladesh camp.

Khaled Mahmud, however, proceeded to use his experience to good effect, sensing that a level head was the primary requirement for victory. Although he lost Mohammad Rafique for a duck with the score on 175, Mashrafe Mortaza proved the steady support he needed. Mahmud finished unbeaten on 12 and Mortaza was not out on four when Bangladesh got to their target.

Despite badly injuring his finger yesterday while batting, Nathan Hauritz sent down 23 overs to take 2 for 48, while Adrian McAdam took 2 for 30.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore was delighted with the way his batsmen contested their wickets, and while it was a touch close for comfort towards the end, plenty of lessons about the virtues of hard work - as opposed to flashy, risky batting - were imbibed by the tourists.

That will be the biggest objective for the tourists as they face a daunting task against Australia, because the lack of concentration and application has been the cause for the downfall of many Bangladesh teams in the past.

What was most satisfying about the win was the effort of Bangladesh's bowlers in their second innings, when they were able to contain the home batsmen and wrest back the advantage. "To get the opposition out again for that total was very, very exemplary, very pleasing," said Whatmore. "The effort was fantastic. That was what brought us into the game."