Australia v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, Darwin September 3, 2008

'It's just not happening for us' - Ashraful

Cricinfo staff
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Mohammad Ashraful trudges off to the dressing room after he was out for 3 © AFP
 

After being shot out for 74 in the first ODI, Bangladesh's batsmen were given a chance to make amends in the second when Mohammad Ashraful opted to bat first. Instead, it was yet another failure for the visitors - they were skittled for 117 - and their captain said his side wasn't performing to its potential.

"It is very disappointing," Ashraful told TigerCricket.com. "We are unable to implement what we are practising and planning. Everyone knows and we know that we are a much better team than this and we can play much better cricket. It's just not happening for us at the moment."

Bangladesh had a poor start. The first ball of the match saw Tamim Iqbal squared up by Nathan Bracken, while his opening partner Mehrab Hossain jnr half-heartedly prodded in to the hands of Michael Hussey at slip in the fifth over to give Bracken his second. Bangladesh were left struggling at 15 for 3 when Ashraful fell for a full delivery from Stuart Clark wide of the off stump. "It was a half volley and a four ball," he said. "It just swung too much."

Ashraful admitted the top order didn't do their job. "The ball was swinging a lot early on and that is only natural," he said. "It would swing in the first six-seven overs whether you bowl first or second and it is our responsibility as batsmen to see off that period. We again failed to do that."

Though Bangladesh managed to better their 74 on Saturday, Ashraful wasn't looking at any positives. "The disappointment is the same. Improvement would have been scoring over 200 and pushing Australia," he said. "I thought we had confidence in the batting department after the practice matches where we twice made 300-plus scores and crossed 270 twice. But after the first match I guess the confidence has suffered a bit."

The only positive for the Bangladeshis was once again the bowling of Mashrafe Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib, playing his 50th ODI, raised faint hopes of a comeback when he dismissed both Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, who became the spin-bowling allrounder's 50th ODI wicket. "They again stood out," Ashraful said, "but the bowlers had nothing to bowl at as we didn't give them any runs to play with."

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, even said sorry to the supporters. "On behalf of the team I want to apologise to our fans around the world and all those who are supporting us back home," he said. "I can assure you we are a much more capable side and we will do a lot better against New Zealand at home and maybe even in the last ODI here."