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Bangladesh pulls off a stunner

Ted Corbett

Memorable day for Ashraful

CARDIFF: Bangladesh, until now the worst team in the world, beat the world champion Australia in the second game of the NatWest one-day series by five wickets here on Saturday and left global cricket in total confusion.

Is Australia falling apart, have the giants of the last few years come to the end of their careers and is this the first sign that England can regain the Ashes after 16 years?

Australia is not just concerned by defeats by the no-hope babes of Bangladesh. It has worries about discipline — Andrew Symonds has been ordered to appear in front of the team management after the game — a shoulder injury to Brett Lee and the results against England in the 20-20 international and Somerset in a warm-up match.

Resilience

Australia was beaten by a side that showed unexpected resilience after conceding 249 runs — including 93 in the last 10 overs — and needing almost eight runs an over at one stage in its innings. But a stand of 130 by Mohammad Ashraful, who scored only the second one-day hundred by a Bangladesh batsman, and captain Habibul Bashar turned the game round and in the final over tiny Aftab Ahmed hit a 6 into the crowd to leave Bangladesh just one run short with five balls remaining.

Bangladesh has defeated Pakistan in a contentious World Cup tie in 1999, and India, and a Test series win over Zimbabwe, but this was its first victory over Australia and must rate as one of the biggest shocks in recent cricket.

"I am the happiest man in the world today," said Bashar.

Australia lost Adam Gilchrist off the second ball of the day, Ponting for one at nine and, after a frantic innings, Matthew Hayden at 57. In the 40th over Australia was 140 for three, and only 93 face-saving runs in the last 10 overs gave it a competitive score of 249 for five.

At that point the English cricket community held its collective breath. After all Australia had expected 300 when Ponting won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat. On a pitch with bounce under a lowering sky, 249 might be a par score. But against the lowest team in the world? I don't think so.

Symonds' disciplinary lapse caused the selectors to leave him out of today's match, although Ponting said at the toss Symonds had been suffering from flu.

Inauspicious start

Bangladesh does not have a bowler quick enough to rough up anyone over the age of 10, yet found five bowlers too lively for the Aussie top order.

Gilchrist played back to Mashrafe Mortaza and was given out lbw; on the margin. Ponting looked lost before he was plumb lbw to Tapash Baisya and after 50 balls of hit and miss Hayden edged a ball from Nazmal Hossain hard onto his stumps. With considerable restraint Damien Martyn dabbed the ball around for 112 balls but once he tried to open up he was caught off Tapash who had Michael Clarke caught in the following over. But in the last eight overs 84 runs came, mainly from muscular hitting by Michael Hussey and Simon Katich in a stand of 76.

In 24 hours Australia faces England, which defeated Bangladesh by ten wickets and is now the favourite for the tournament. England has replaced Simon Jones with 6ft 8in Chris Tremlett of Hampshire.

Scoreboard

Australia: A. Gilchrist lbw b Mortaza 0, M. Hayden b N. Hossain 37, R. Ponting lbw b Baisya 1, D. Martyn c Iqbal b Baisya 77, M. Clarke c Mortaza b Baisya 54, M. Hussey (not out) 31, S. Katich (not out) 36; Extras (lb-3, nb-8, w-2): 13; Total (for five wkts, 50 overs): 249.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-9, 3-57, 4-165, 5-183.

Bangladesh bowling: Mortaza 10-2-33-1, Baisya 10-1-69- 3, Hossain 10-2-65-1, Rafique 10-0-31-0, Aftab 10-0-48-0.

Bangladesh: J. Omar c Hayden b Kasprowicz 19, N. Iqbal c Gilchrist b Gillespie 8, T. Imran c Katich b Hogg 24, M. Ashraful c Hogg b Gillespie 100, H. Bashar (run out) 47, A. Ahmed (not out) 21, M. Rafique (not out) 9; Extras (b-1, lb-11, nb-4, w-6): 22: Total (for five wkts, 49.2 overs): 250.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-51, 3-72, 4-202, 5-227.

Australia bowling: McGrath 10-1-43-0, Gillespie 9.2-1-41-2, Kasprowicz 10-0-40-1, Hogg 9-0-52-1, Clarke 6-0-38-0, Hussey 5-0-24-0.

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