First Test Match

Australia v Bangladesh

At Darwin, July 18, 19, 20, 2003. Australia won by an innings and 132 runs. Toss: Australia.

The first Test to be played at Darwin's Marrara Oval - the 89th Test venue, and the eighth in Australia - was done and dusted in less than half the scheduled playing time. Bangladesh's fate was sealed on the first day when, overwhelmed by the occasion and the reputation of the opposition, they collapsed to 97 all out on a drop-in pitch (prepared in Melbourne and airlifted to Darwin a month before the match), which proved to be slow and low.

The Bangladesh batsmen struggled most with their shot-selection. Only Javed Omar was beaten by the bounce, but no one other than Mohammad Ashraful, who pulled straight to deep square just before lunch for 23, and Khaled Masud batted for longer than an hour. The Bangladeshis' failure to apply themselves chagrined their coach, Dav Whatmore, who said: "A few players presented their wickets, and that's just the area we're trying to improve." Late on, Khaled Mahmud, the tourists' hard-pressed captain,spanked three fours - it was as many as the other ten batsmen managed between them.

The Australians also found scoring difficult, at least until Gilchrist joined Waugh and upped the tempo. By then Lehmann had posted Darwin's first Test century; Waugh's own was just over an hour quicker at 177 minutes, and completed his set against all nine possible Test opponents, matching Gary Kirsten of South Africa.

Bangladesh started their second innings brightly, reaching 70 for the loss of Javed Omar by the second-day close. But, still prone to losing wickets in batches, they collapsed on the third morning as MacGill continued to turn the ball sharply. Alok Kapali completed a pair, courtesy of MacGill's wiles, and only a sensible innings from Al Sahariar - who was singled out for praise by Waugh after the match, then dropped for the next Test - delayed the inevitable. Finally, he skied a return catch to give MacGill his fifth wicket of the innings, and the match was over at 12.41 on the third day. (Play up in the Tropics started at 9.30, so lunch was at 11.30. George Gunn, who insisted on lunching at 1.30 whatever the hours of play, would not have approved.)

Man of the Match: S. R. Waugh. Attendance: 13,862.

© John Wisden & Co