England v Bangladesh, NatWest Series, Trent Bridge June 21, 2005

The hat-trick that wasn't



Chris Tremlett comes within a superglued bail of a debut hat-trick. But Mohammad Ashraful made the most of his reprieve © Getty Images
Chris Tremlett came as close as is humanly possible to a hat-trick on his international debut, when the crucial delivery - to Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh's centurion against Australia on Saturday - bounced off the top of the bails and away to safety. But the reprieve galvanised Ashraful into some serious action. He brought up his half-century from a mere 21 balls, and had reached 94 from just 52 by the time he was bowled by a Paul Collingwood slower ball.

Such a turn of events had seemed light-years away in the early stages of the innings. Tremlett, who was drafted into the squad as a replacement for the injured Simon Jones, took the new ball and immediately used his 6' 7" frame to extract good pace and leaping bounce to complement a tight line. He had conceded just six runs from his first four overs when he speared the second ball of his fifth through the defences of Shahriar Nafees, who could only deflect a rising ball onto his stumps.

Tremlett struck again with his next delivery as Tushar Imran feathered a simple chance through to Geraint Jones, and he followed up with another arrow-straight rib-tickler that Ashraful struggled to control and chopped down into his crease. The ball bobbled up and landed smack on the top of middle stump, but amazingly, neither bail was moved.

Ashraful was still shaking his head in disbelief as he faced up to his next delivery, and when he aimed an ugly heave at Steve Harmison's first ball, it seemed he wouldn't be around for long. But he clearly felt that his luck was in, and two pulled sixes and a hook for four later, Harmison's first over had disappeared for 19 runs. But that was just the start of the fun.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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