Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine
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Cardiff, 18 June 2005
"It's only Bangladesh," thought Andrew Symonds, as he embarked on an ill-advised bender through the streets of Cardiff that ended at 8am on the morning of Australia's first match of the 2005 NatWest Series. Symonds was instantly dropped, but his indiscretion was the first sign of the tremors to come.
Seeking a big statement to launch their Ashes summer, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting instead managed just one run between them, and thereafter the innings stuttered. Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke steadied the ship, and Michael Hussey and Simon Katich added late momentum, but a target of 250 was by no means out of reach.
Certainly not with Mohammad Ashraful on hand to play the innings of his life. Short of stature but big in ticker, he lambasted an Australian attack that was already showing the first signs of the rust that England would capitalise on later in the summer. His brilliantly paced 100, from 101 balls, kept Bangladesh on course throughout, as word spread across the globe that something truly remarkable was afoot.
The coup de grace, however, was delivered by Aftab Ahmed. With seven needed for victory, it had all come down to the final over, delivered by Jason Gillespie. One blow put the contest beyond doubt - a mighty smear sailed clean over midwicket for six, to cue the most crazy scenes of jubilation ever witnessed at Sophia Gardens. Bangladesh had earned the respect of the cricketing world, and Australia's aura of invincibility was shattered.