Gillespie rattles Bangladesh
For five days at Fatullah, David had led, scrapped, slipped but fought back and hung in there tenaciously before falling to the Goliath after one hell of a battle. The Australians were no doubt stung by that embarrassment and today, with a little bit of help from the Bangladesh batsmen, hit back with vengeance. Asked to bowl first on a flat pitch, they got on top almost immediately, thanks to Jason Gillespie, who struck three blows in his first four overs. Rajin Saleh hit back with a fluent 71 but Stuart MacGill and Shane Warne prised out three wickets apiece to bowl out Bangladesh for a paltry 197. Australia rubbed it in further as they reached 76 for 1 at stumps.
It was a day where Australia, going in with a five-man bowling attack, eschewed their arrogance, be it while fielding - a sweeper cover was put straightaway for the spinners, or batting - Matthew Hayden and Phil Jaques didn't bludgeon but chose to caress, and slowly forced Bangladesh into submission. That Australia meant business was evident in their selection: both Brett Lee and Warne played, shrugging off exhaustion and shoulder injury. Stuart Clark, who didn't impress in the first Test, was replaced by the debutant offspinner, Dan Cullen.
The wicket offered bounce and turn but then so did the one at Fatullah. Bangladesh played without any pressure in the first Test - no-one expected them to rattle 355 on the opening day - but the pressures of expectations seemed to have burdened them at Chittagong.
The slide began with a relatively innocuous delivery: a ball drifting down the leg side was casually flicked away by the first-Test centurion Shahriar Nafees to fine leg. Habibul Bashar, nicknamed Habitual Basher for his tendency to have a go at the bowling, chose to spontaneously combust at the crease. Two lovely square-drives to the left of point off Gillespie prompted Ricky Ponting to move in a fielder in that position. Bashar flashed again and before one could blink, a diving Phil Jacques had the ball in his hands.
After 11 overs of pace, in which time Javed Omar fell as well, Ponting switched to spin and Shane Warne removed Mohammad Ashraful in his second over with a gentle legbreak which Ashraful guided straight to Matthew Hayden at first slip.
The one batsman who showed the resilience, courage and flair to resist the Australian attack was Saleh. Early in his innings, Lee pinged him on the helmet. Saleh responded by driving him to the cover fence. Lee's response was another short one at furious pace that crashed into Saleh's helmet again, but Saleh remained unfazed, battling Lee just as he had withstood a barrage of bumpers from Shoaib Akhtar on Bangladesh's previous tour to Pakistan. Against the spinners, he was precise in his footwork, going back or forward as the trajectory and the length demanded of him. He lofted Warne to long-on to bring up the fifty for Bangladesh, drove MacGill against the spin to the midwicket fence and then pulled a short one to ease the pressure which the early wickets had put on the team.
Post lunch he punched Lee to point, reached his fifty with a miscued lofted drive off Warne and celebrated the landmark by cutting MacGill to the fence. Aftab Ahmed, who was circumspect in the first session, shifted gears in the second. Warne was lofted imperiously over long-off, Lee was square-driven and Aftab repeated that shot again to bring up the fifty of the partnership.
However, the stand ended in controversial circumstances. Warne floated one up that drifted in and dipped, taking the inside edge before bounding off Ahmed's boots to Gilchrist. The unsure field umpires, Ian Howell and Aleem Dar, referred it Mahbubur Rahman, the third umpire, and after countless replays it seemed the decision was made in the batsman's favour when Ricky Ponting entered the fray. An animated chat with Howell, the umpire at the bowler's end, resulted, quite surprisingly, in a review of the decision as the umpires went into further conversation with Rahman. This time the verdict came in favour of the visitors, and Aftab trudged back for 18.
Soon Bangladesh slipped into further misery when Saleh was deceived by MacGill. He set him up with a slow legbreak that was pulled to the midwicket fence before slipping in a straight one which hastened off the pitch. Mohammad Rafique and Abdur Razzaq biffed a few, while Khaled Mashud rode his luck despite being quite clueless against MacGill, but even the lower-order resistance only took Bangladesh to a below-par 197.
Australia lost Hayden, against the run of play, to a sudden urge to dominate, lofting straight to long-on, but Jaques and Gillespie, the nightwatchman, prevented any further damage. The day belonged to Australia and the manner in which they approached their batting, Bangladesh could well be spending a lot of time sweating under the sun on the second day.
Shariar Nafees c Brett Lee b Jason Gillespie 0 ( 0 for 1)
Flicked a leg-side ball straight to fine leg
Habibul Bashar c Phil Jacques b Gillespie 8 (11 for 2)
Square-drove to point, diving catch to his right
Javed Omar lbw Gillespie 2 (17 for 3)
Trapped plumb in front by one that nipped back
Mohammad Ashraful c Hayden b Warne (41 for 4)
Guided a legbreak straight to slip
Aftab Ahmed c Gilchrist b Warne 18(102 for 5)
Bounded off inside-edge, then his boots, to Gilchrist
Rajin Saleh b MacGill 71 (130 for 6)
Bowled as the ball hurried through to beat an intended pull shot
Mohammad Rafique c Hayden b MacGill 19 (152 for 7)
Foxed by googly, edged to slip
Mashrafe Mortaza c Gilchrist b Cullen 4 (157 for 8)
Pushed at one outside off, edged behind
Abdur Razzak c Lee b MacGill 16 (193 for 9)
Lofted to long-off, a terrific running catch
Shahadat Hussain c Gillespie b Warne 0 (197 all out)
Leading edge to cover, taken inches off the ground
Matthew Hayden c (sub) Alok Kapali b Mohammad Rafique 29 (67 for 1)
Lofted to long-on
Sriram Veera is editorial assistant of Cricinfo