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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Tigers earn their stripes
By Oliver Brett

I've got to pinch myself
Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore
So much international cricket is played nowadays, it is sometimes hard to believe the hyperbole.

But on the occasion of Australia losing to Bangladesh in a one-day international it really is justified.

Bangladesh were described as "no better than minor county standard" when being roundly thrashed in the early stages of their tour to England.

They lost both Test matches by massive margins, and last Thursday England beat them by 10 wickets in the opening match of the NatWest Series.

Their lack of form was enough for one gambler to stake 7,500 on Australia duly consigning Bangladesh to yet another loss on Saturday.

Had the Aussies won, he would have won a mere 75 with odds of 100/1 on quoted.

In the event, he was left as embarrassed as Ricky Ponting and his troops.

This was not the Australia we have become used to seeing.

Chastened by defeats to England and Somerset, the Aussies did not arrive at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens with their customary swagger.

And their tactics were flawed as they chose to bat first on a pitch which nearly always favours the side chasing late in the day.

Whatever early devils there were in the pitch were swiftly exploited by Bangladesh's Mashrafe Mortaza and Tapah Baisya.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
The Aussies were unable to hide their embarrassment

Losing their three "gun" batsmen early, Australia were required to rebuild.

And there was suddenly an enormous amount of respect shown by Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke, who carefully batted out 26 overs.

The eventual total of 249-5 was not great, but Australia must have reckoned they could defend it against Bangladesh.

They are, after all, a team who were so bad at the World Cup two years ago that they lost to Canada.

But the Tigers have shown occasional signs of improvement - winning a home one-day international against India in January this year, for instance.

The key partnership on Saturday came when captain Habibul Bashar joined forces with the mercurial youngster Mohammad Ashraful.

Bashar has had to produce any number of sombre post-match soundbites but here was his opportunity to let his cricket do the talking.

Ashraful, who scored a century on his Test debut barely aged 17, has all the shots.

And on this occasion, by combining subtle deflections with some brutally-struck boundaries, he put his poor form thus far on tour behind him.

He did not quite stay long enough to hit the winning runs, and was mortified when falling for 100.

Bangladesh beat Australia
The Bangladesh batsmen were mobbed by their fans at the end

But those Bangladesh fans optimistic enough to purchase a ticket for the match had nothing to fear.

There are certain one-day international shocks that cricket-lovers remember well.

Kenya's win against West Indies in the World Cup of 1996 was an extraordinary event, especially as Richie Richardson, Brian Lara and the rest needed just 167 to win.

Three years later, Bangladesh beat Pakistan in England - a result which led to their premature elevation to Test match status.

But that result was later shrouded by match-fixing allegations.

There is no doubt that Saturday 18 June 2005 will go down in history as an historic day for Bangladeshi cricket.

One thing is certain - this is Australia's most shocking reverse ever, and one which many so-called "neutrals" would have relished.

News conference: Australia captain Ricky Ponting

Interview: Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore


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