July 26, 2003

Lehmann flourishes after Bangladesh dismissed for 295

Close Australia 351 for 3 (Lehmann 156*, Waugh 74*, Hossain 2-87) lead Bangladesh 295 by 56 runs

Darren Lehmann on his way to a superb hundred

Darren Lehmann was in rampant mood as he scored his second century in two innings against Bangladesh at Cairns today. By the close of play on day two, Australia had moved into a dominant position, with a lead of 56 and seven wickets in hand.

It was a day completely dominated by the Australians - they took only 13 balls in the morning to pick up the last two Bangladesh wickets for the addition of six runs. Justin Langer was the only batsman to miss out on runs, dismissed for just one after Javed Omar took a diving catch at point off Mashrafe Mortaza's bowling (14 for 1).

For the others, it was time to cash in, and while there were only half-centuries for Matthew Hayden (50) and Ricky Ponting (59), Lehmann and Steve Waugh poured on the agony in a superb, and unbroken, fourth-wicket partnership of 219. There have only been four higher partnerships recorded against Bangladesh for all wickets, and three of them will be in their sights tomorrow, though it's unlikely that the 429 added by South Africa's Jacques Rudolph and Boeta Dippenaar (May 2003) will be threatened.

Lehmann moved to within 56 runs of his first 1000 runs in Tests, while Waugh was chipping his way slowly, but surely, toward Allan Border's Test record of 11,174. Lehmann, who was on 51 at tea, also had the satisfaction of scoring over a hundred in the final session.

Waugh was much more controlled in his batting, allowing Lehmann to take the attack to a tiring Bangladesh side. All but Mortaza, who gained Langer's wicket and finished with 1 for 37 from his 17 overs, felt the full weight of Australian aggression. Khaled Mahmud was dealt with especially severely, conceding 53 runs from 10 overs, and while Sanwar Hossain picked up the wickets of Hayden and Ponting, they came at a cost of 87 from 20 overs.

The conditions were tailor-made for batting, and given a much faster outfield than that seen in Darwin last week, the full weight of Australia's batting superiority may be unleashed tomorrow, with Martin Love and Adam Gilchrist still cooling their heels in the pavilion. If the Bangladesh bowlers fail to strike early, they could find themselves on the receiving end of a significant deficit come tea time, with Australia set to ram home their advantage.

The Australian pace men failed to make a significant impact in the first innings, and it was Stuart MacGill, with his five-wicket haul, who did the real damage. But Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie will most likely be in a meaner mood tomorrow, as Australia set out to wrap up the match, and series.

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