Cosgrove helps Australia complete rout
Powered by a disciplined bowling performance, that enabled them to bowl out Bangladesh for a disappointing 124, Australia sealed a thumping win in the third one-dayer at Fatullah. Australia completed the whitewash without too much of a fuss, with Simon Katich and Mark Cosgrove steering the chase in splendid fashion.
It was as convincing as the scoreline suggests and it marked the end of a grueling season - one that included ten body-breaking months on the road with 17 Tests and 35 ODIs. The real damage was done first up when Bangladesh surrendered without too much of a fight to their inexperienced bowling attack. Having lost the series already, Bangladesh had the ideal opportunity to just get out there and do their thing but instead, succumbed meekly. Habibul Bashar, who chose to bat, walked into a semi-crisis for the third time in a row but couldn't stage a recovery this time around.
There were no magic balls or unplayable deliveries, just good old line and length stuff but that proved adequate. The specialists stuck to the basics: Mitchell Johnson got some swing, the tall Brett Dorey found some seam movement, and James Hopes varied his pace cleverly to keep the chokehold on. Gilchrist, who took over the reins from a resting Ricky Ponting, used as many as eight bowlers and rotated them around cannily.One of the part-timers, Michael Hussey, did the job that Andrew Symonds usually does: hit the right areas, varied the pace, and strangled the batsmen. With the batsmen going into their shell, Mark Cosgrove, the rotund left-hand batsman from South Australia who made his debut today, also rolled his arm over.
It was Johnson, with a little help from Ian Howell, the umpire, who drew first blood, gaining a verdict against Shahriar Nafees, despite the ball ricocheting off the inside edge before thudding into the pads. However, Aftab Ahmed had nobody but himself to blame for his exit, flashing lamely outside off and Bangladesh were bleeding at 8 for 2. Ashraful never looked in and left after eking out a scratchy 13. Bashar, in midst of a good run with the bat, refused to play the big strokes and along with Rajin Saleh, an adhesive crease-occupier, offered some resistance. A nudge here, a push there enabled the duo to crawl along but some poor running between the wickets cost them a few valuable runs.
Just before the 25 over mark, Saleh stirred to unleash a couple of boundaries but fell trying to up the tempo. The next man in Alok Kapali, spontaneously combusted at the crease, holing out to deep midwicket and Bashar - who showed his frustration by carting a Clarke floater to cover - fell almost immediately, stumped off Brad Hogg. The tail folded up without a fight leaving Australia a small total to contend with.
There were to be no hiccups as Australia rattled away towards the target. The scorching morning sun had hid itself behind the clouds and the Australian opening batsmen prospered under the cloudy skies. Cosgrove, nicknamed 'Baby Boof 'for his size and batting resemblance to former Australian batsman Darren Lehmann, used his wrists and slashed his way to a impressive fifty. A flicked two to square leg got him off the mark and soon he began to flow. He walked across to the spinners and with a bottom-handed twirl of the bat, reminiscent of Lehmann, found the gaps on the field. Ever eager to come down the track to the spinners, he unfurled a few lofted shots. One such stroke - a six straight down the ground - off Rajin Saleh brought up his fifty and he celebrated by repeating the stroke. The spinners bled 49 runs in 40 balls as Cosgrove drove them to distraction before falling at the end.
Simon Katich was his usual self: nudging and pushing his way around, and when the opportunity for a boundary presented itself, he indulged. Australia, on the road for ten body-breaking months, will now enjoy a well-deserved break.
Shariar Nafees lbw b Johnson 0 (0 for 1)
Inside-edge onto pads, unlucky to be given out
Aftab Ahmed c Gilchrist b Dorey 1 (8 for 2)
Nicked a flash outside off stump
Mohammad Ashraful c Cullen b Hopes 13 (41 for 3)
Chipped a slower delivery straight to short-midwicket
Rajin Saleh b Clarke 37 (80 for 4)
Missed an intended sweep shot
Alok Kapali c Katich b Hogg 5 (92 for 5)
A long hop, holed out to deep midwicket
Habibul Bashar st Gilchrist b Hogg 33 (107 for 6)
Went down the track to loft, didn't connect
Mohammad Rafique b Johnson 0 (117 for 7)
Pushed out at a ball outside off stump, inside-edge on to the stumps
Khaled Mashud st Gilchrist b Cullen 11
Beaten in the flight by a drifter
Abdur Razzak c Symonds b Hogg 1 (122 for 9)
Chipped straight to cover
Mark Cosgrove b Abdur Razzak 74 (123 for 1)
Attempted heave across the line, inside-edge on to the stumps
Sriram Veera is editorial assistant of Cricinfo