Bangladesh v Australia, 1st Test, Fatullah, 1st day April 10, 2006

350 runs in a day against Australia is no joke - Nafees

Cricinfo staff

What a ripper! Shariar Nafees notched up his maiden first-class as well as Test hundred against the might of Australia © Getty Images
"Better than imagination", screamed the Daily Star, the Dhaka-based daily, after Bangladesh's best-ever opening day in Test cricket, when they amassed 355 for 5 against the mighty Australians. The man responsible for Bangladesh's dream day out, Shariar Nafees, revealed that his inspiration was "playing against the world's best attack".

"When you come out with a hundred against them [Australia], it's simply a great, great feeling," an excited Nafees told the reporters. "And when players like Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting congratulated me saying that it was a well-paced hundred, joy knew no bound for me." Nafees played the perfect team man, stating that the opening-day effort was the proof that "Bangladesh cricket is going upward. Scoring 350 runs in day against a team like Australia is not a joke."

Nafees, who was promoted to open the batting in this Test, said he was not worried about his batting position and only wanted to do well for the team. "It's great that I made my hundred as an opener," he said. "I am looking forward to serving my team as best as possible. I was not nervous at any stage even when I received a nasty bouncer off Brett Lee on my helmet." Yet he admitted to nerves as his maiden first-class century approached. "But honestly speaking I was little bit tense when I reached 99."

The 20-year-old Nafees displayed a mature head and talked about learning from his previous mistakes, notably against Sri Lanka. "I was wrong in choosing the ball for the sweep shot against Murali," said Nafees. "But I think I learnt from my mistake which reflected in the day against Warne. My main intention was to play according to merit of the delivery."

Nafees found praise from his captain Habibul Bashar. "It was one of the best innings from any Bangladeshi batsman. He played according to merit and never allowed the bowlers to get on top.

"But it was never on our mind that we would score 350 runs on a day against a team like Australia. I want to say that it is a clear message that we are improving. If you consider the previous record, definitely it is the best day in our history and the most significant thing is not many teams in the world score 350 runs on a single day."

However, he had his feet firmly on the ground, conceding that Australia could fight back strongly. "There are still four days to go and you all know that Australia can bounce back from any stage. That's why our first target would be to bat at least two more sessions tomorrow and then we can think about saving the match. There is no scope to be over excited. It would have been satisfactory had we finished the day losing one less wicket," said Bashar, who himself was guilty of throwing his wicket away, something he regretted doing. "A century would have been good not only for me but also for the benefit of the team. Making a century against Australia is always special for any batsman."

John Buchanan, Australia's coach, also praised the Bangladeshi batsmen for their pluck and skill. "Bangladesh played spin and quick bowlers very well," Buchanan said. "There will be more opportunities for us tomorrow morning." And he picked out Nafees's contribution, who made the most of being dropped at fly-slip by Shane Warne on 66. "Nafees played very sensibly. We dropped a few catches and that opened up an opportunity for them."