July 22, 2003

No let-up for Bangladeshis ahead of second Test

Wisden CricInfo staff

There has been no let-up for Bangladesh following their innings defeat by Australia in the first Test at Darwin. On what should have been the fifth day of the match they had a two-and-a-half hour net session, although the bowlers were given a break and the batsmen faced machines.

On Wednesday both teams leave Darwin to travel to the cooler climate of Cairns where the second Test starts on Friday (July 25). Bangladesh will feel a little more at home in Queensland as it was their base for the first three weeks of their tour.

While, as expected, Bangladesh lost at Darwin, there were signs of improvement, but Khaled Mahmud, their captain, admitted that there was still a long way to go. "I won't say that I am happy," he told Bangladesh's Independent newspaper. "We are actually yet to perform at the level we would like to be at. When we came here, we had fears of facing the mighty Australians. But now we have got rid of it. At least we won't give up before the game starts.

"The Test has done a lot for the boys. We showed that we are able to compete. The 118 overs we bowled, we were sincere. After losing five wickets, many other teams would have not been able to score so many runs. But they are the world champions. Everybody has to understand this."

Bangladesh cricket received a boost with the announcement that Cricket Australia had agreed to a deal which would help improve the game in Bangladesh. Between now and 2006 there would be reciprocal U17, U19 and U23 tours, and there would be training courses run for Bangladeshi umpires. Four Bangladesh players would also be trained each year at the Adelaide Academy.

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