A day to savour for Bangladesh
Three-hundred-and-fifty-five for five. If you'd have to bet on either Australia or Bangladesh getting to that position after the first day of the Test, chances are you'd wager on the Aussies. The first day of Test cricket at Fatullah, though, produced a quite remarkable batting performance from the home side. Instead of rolling over and being smashed by the likes of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne, Bangladesh took the fight to them, and at the end of the day Australia were the ones bruised and battered, conceding more than four an over.
For Bangladesh and for the 20-year-old Shahriar Nafees, it was a day to savour. Only once before had they got to more than 300 in a day's batting - against Sri Lanka at Chittagong just over one month ago - but then they had lost nine wickets in the process. Here, Bangladesh completely dominated for large parts of the day, and had it not been for some reckless strokes, it might have been even more depressing for Australia.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Nafees, a left-hander whose eight previous Test innings had fetched nothing more than a highest of 51 and a grand aggregate of 152; in just one innings, he nearly doubled that aggregate with his 138, the third-highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Tests. Nafees was also involved in the brightest passage of play in the day, when he put together 187 sparkling runs with his captain, Habibul Bashar. They created a new partnership record for Bangladesh - beating the 167-run mark by Bashar and Javed Omar against Pakistan in 2003 - and did it in style too, knocking off the runs in a mere 40 overs.
The challenge that Nafees relished more than any other was the one presented by a legspinner named Shane Warne: Warne bowled 56 deliveries to him, and got smashed for 67, including ten hits which found their way to the fence. If Warne doesn't bowl again in this innings, this will be - by far - his most expensive figures in an innings - never before has he bowled more than ten overs and finished with an economy rate of greater than five.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo