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The Wisden Bulletin by Chandrahas Choudhury
September 9, 2003
Pakistan 323 for 3 (Hameed 116, Younis Khan 59*) beat Bangladesh 186 (Hafeez 3-17, Razzaq 3-32) by 137 runs
Yasir Hameed celebrates his first ODI century
A clinical performance by the Pakistani team left Bangladesh outclassed by 137 runs in the first one-day international of the five-match series, at Multan. On the same ground on which they came so heartbreakingly close to achieving their first-ever Test victory three days ago, Bangladesh found that the qualities they had summoned to keep abreast of Pakistan in the Test series - patience, application and discipline - counted for little in the shorter form of the game as Pakistan powered to 323. It takes a certain amount of effort - and practice - to switch between Test match and one-day cricket, and one can sympathise with the Bangladeshis if, at this stage, they find it too difficult to make the adjustment.
In fact, considering the eventual margin of their loss, Bangladesh's troubles began fairly late in the day. In the first session, yet another hundred from Yasir Hameed (116), opening the innings for the first time at international level, meant that Pakistan were in the driver's seat from the very beginning, but the game only began to run away from Bangladesh when they conceded 54 runs to Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the last three overs. Bangladesh were left with 324 to chase, and never had a realistic chance of making it. The man most likely to make a big score, Habibul Bashar, was run out by a sharp piece of fielding and a direct hit from Hameed, who has not wasted any chance to make a mark on the game with the bat or in the field. When Tushar Imran, Rajin Saleh and Khaled Mahmud were all out between the ninth and the twelfth overs, Bangladesh were 52 for 5, and were always going to struggle even to see the innings out.
The best individual performance of the day was undisputably from Hameed. His top score from his previous five ODIs was only 28, but with his reputation and his confidence bolstered by 373 runs in the recent Test series, he made the most of his good form by taking another century off the now-familiar Bangladeshi bowlers.
For the first half of his innings he let his more experienced partners control the pace of the game, but he took charge after he had reached his fifty, running down the pitch repeatedly to the Bangladeshi spinners and trying to hit the gaps in the deep-spread field. He brought up his century from 122 balls with 12 fours and a six, and by the time he was out in the 38th over, lashing a drive off Alok Kapali straight to cover, Pakistan were already past 200, and the base had been set for a 300-plus score. Khan and Inzamam saw Pakistan there with some powerful hitting, with Khan's slog-sweeping of the bowlers, with scant regard to whether they were bowling spin or pace, reducing them to despair.
Bangladesh bowled about as well as their limited attack could be expected to - only their bowling at the death was lamentably bad - and fielded keenly and enthusiastically. Kapali and Mashrafe Mortaza were the most impressive of the fielders, and Mortaza will cherish his run-out of Youhana - chasing down a defensive stroke in his follow-through, and spinning around and throwing down the stumps in one action - as much as any wicket he will ever take. Bangladesh's one area of indiscipline was no-balls; Mortaza was the most prominent offender with five.
But when they batted, only Saleh, and to a lesser extent Kapali, looked the part. Saleh played some rasping drives through the covers off Umar Gul and Shabbir, and, after his composed performance in the Test series, further enhanced his reputation on his ODI debut. Bangladesh will expect him to go on to bigger deeds, and take some of the weight of the batting off the shoulders of Bashar. Even if Saleh fell to perhaps the worst shot of all, charging down the pitch at Abdul Razzaq and inside-edging the ball onto his stumps, one could pardon him because it was only his ambition, rather than impetuousness, that did him in - he had given himself some time to get his eye in, and seemed to believe that it was his responsibility to try and keep up with the asking rate. A lot of other Bangladeshi batsman accepted much more easily that their pursuit of Pakistan's score was going to be only nominal.
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