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September 16, 2007
The difference a day makes
It was like watching two different teams when Bangladesh began their innings. After showing scant regard to anything South Africa sent down last night, they offered the Australian attack much more respect. Brett Lee and Co, though, didn't begin with a series of tempting half volleys and it wasn't until Lee had to protect himself against a free-hit that he pitched the ball up. Bangladesh's first boundary was a fortunate edged cut between the wicketkeeper and slip and there was a huge amount of playing and missing. The difference was summed up by Aftab Ahmed, who yesterday creamed 36 off 14 balls and here made 31 off 34.
Bangladesh's batsmen spent most of the early overs planted firmly on the back foot and as hard as they tried they couldn't break the shackles. Facing a rapid bouncer from Mitchell Johnson, Nazimuddin went for a pull but was so late on the shot that he was clattered flush on the helmet. The ball ballooned to backward point and they ran a leg-bye. It was a fine glancing header that wouldn't have looked out of place a few days ago at the other Newlands sports stadium when the South African football team played Zambia.
Australia continued to have a few problems with the front line and Johnson, in his second over, followed one no-ball with another. After the first one Tamim Iqbal had a wild swing-and-miss, then when the free-hit was carried over to the following delivery he went for another wild mow and didn't make contact. So, apart from the extra run for the no-ball, the free-hit had cost Australia the grand total of one bye. That's an escape and a half.
Second chance Sunday
It was fairly clear that events were going Australia's way when Ricky Ponting showed his brilliant reflexes to hold Nazimuddin's powerful drive at extra cover. The shot sped towards Ponting and popped straight out of his hands, but the momentum carried him forward and he snapped up the chance on the rebound.
Have a single for that
Aftab was trying his best to hold the innings together, and unfurled a trademark clip over midwicket which soared high into the air. The batsmen were sure it was going for at least four, but the Newlands outfield is still fairly soft and slow. Like a fine nine-iron into the green, Aftab's shot pitched and plugged almost on the spot allowing deep square-leg to haul it in. Aftab only realised too late, and didn't even make it back for two.
Another Twenty20 first
After the first Twenty20 century, by Chris Gayle against South Africa, this match brought the first hat-trick in the international version. Brett Lee was the man with the honour as his pace proved too much for the middle order. Shakib al Hasan edged a catch behind, Mashrafe Mortaza was speared by a yorker and Alok Kapali was trapped in front. It nearly got better for Lee, his next delivery missed the stumps by a fraction, but he had overstepped. The free-hit found the hands of Johnson at long-on, and didn't count. But the over had had enough wickets.
Catches win...oh dear
Bangladesh needed early wickets, and they nearly got one. With the fourth ball of the innings Mortaza brought an edge from Adam Gilchrist which flew towards Alok Kapali at slip. He moved quickly to his left, got a decent amount of hand on it, but couldn't hold on. Australian batsmen don't offer many chances and they hurried the game towards its conclusion.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala