A brief history

Australia v Bangladesh

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Darren Lehmann celebrates his hundred at Cairns © Getty Images
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2003 Bangladesh in Australia
On the face of it, Bangladesh's first foray into Australia as a fully fledged Test nation was a disaster: both Tests were lost by an innings, and all three one-day internationals by wide margins. Their one-day performances were indeed disappointing, but some encouraging signs of added application did emerge from the Tests and the warm-up games.

It was evident that the ministrations of Dav Whatmore, the Australian in his first major outing as Bangladesh's coach after parting company with Sri Lanka (whom he coached to World Cup success in 1996), were having some effect. Nerves took hold on the first day of the first Test, when Bangladesh were shot out for 97; apart from that, the batsmen performed above expectations, especially on the first day of the second Test on what was expected to be a spiteful pitch.

Bangladesh unearthed a potential batting star in the young opener Hannan Sarkar, who collected two wristy, watchful half-centuries in the Second Test at Cairns. He was surely one of the batsmen Steve Waugh had in mind during that match when he said that the Australians had encountered batting in recent Tests - from Pakistan and West Indies - that was worse than Bangladesh's efforts. That said, there was a shortage of runs from the middle order. Habibul Bashar batted well, if in his customary over-adventurous style, but Mohammad Ashraful was one of several slightly-built players who found the tall Australian fast bowlers' bounce hard to negotiate. And the much touted Alok Kapali, himself a wrist-spinner, could make little of the legspin of Stuart MacGill, whose 17 wickets as a stand-in for the banned Shane Warne brought him the Man-of-the-Series award.

The Australians, most of whom had been inactive for two months since their Caribbean tour, were rusty at first. The openers were unusually subdued, but Darren Lehmann and Martin Love took the chance to boost their averages. And then there was Waugh himself: he pushed his Test average back above 50 with an unbeaten century at Darwin, which meant he had scored a hundred against all nine Test opponents, then went one better at Cairns by extending that record to 150 or more against all-comers.

The experiment of playing in Australia's Top End - at Darwin in the Northern Territory and Cairns in far-north Queensland - during their winter was a success from every point of view except attendance. The weather was perfect and the facilities first-class, but local support was disappointing, with the first days of both Tests attracting only around 6,000 spectators.
Tests: Australia 2 Bangladesh 0
ODIs: Australia 3 Bangladesh 0


Jason Gillespie acknowledges applause for his remarkable 201 © AFP
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2005-06 Australia in Bangladesh
Australia arrived an exhausted side: 10 months on the road had taken its toll, but even a tired Australia were odds-on to beat lowly Bangladesh. Habibal Bashar, Bangladesh's captain, spoke of his side's respect for Australia - but insisted they were not frightened. And that sentiment was played out in magnificent fashion by their 20-year-old opener, Shahriar Nafees, whose brazen 138 took the attack to a startled Australia. Bangladesh racked up 427 in their first innings, their second-highest total, before their 144 million fans had further reason to believe the unthinkable, ripping out Hayden, Ponting and Martyn, to reduce Australia to 50 for 3. The spinners made that 93 for 6. But Bangladesh reverted to type in their second innings, bundled out for 148, and Australia began cautiously in pursuit of 307. However, Bangladesh weren't done for, as Mohammad Rafique claiming two wickets on the fourth evening and another two in the morning. But when it really mattered, the minnows failed, Mashrafe bin Mortaza dropping Ponting just before lunch and he went onto guide Australia to a three-wicket win with an unbeaten 118. Shaken, but not stirred - rather, stirred into life. Australia returned to their bruising best in the second Test at Chittagong, rocking Bangladesh for 197 before piling up a huge 581 for 4 with a remarkable double hundred from Jason Gillespie, the longest ever innings by a nightwatchman. It was, as Wisden reported, an innings of "pushes and prods, and the odd moment of audacity". So exhausted was he that he only bowled four overs in Bangladesh second innings, Warne and MacGill wrapping it up with nine wickets between them to end a bizarre match.
Tests: Australia 2 Bangladesh 0
ODIs: Australia 3 Bangladesh 0

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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