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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Third Warm Up

Sports Correspondent

The third warm-up match again showed how good a batting track the Gardens Oval has as the AIS chased Bangladesh's 270 with 11 balls and five wickets to spare.

The morning, unlike the past few days, was breezy and a tad cloudy. Whatever encouragement the bowlers have on this pitch is usually limited to the first five or six overs and AIS skipper Moises Henriques had no hesitation in putting Bangladesh in on winning the toss, according to a report filed by tigercricket.com, the official website of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
 
The Tigers had left out Mehrab Hossain, Shahadat Hossain and Dollar Mahmud from this game and Zunaed Siddique opened with Tamim Iqbal. Tamim was the first to go caught behind after going hard at a ball out side off and Zunaed got a leading edge when he tried to flick a full toss and was caught at cover. Bangladesh were 2/5 inside four overs before Alok Kopali (38), Shakib Al Hasan (67) and Roqibul Hassan (51 not out) ensured a decent total.
 
The batsmen again all looked good as long as they were at the crease but momentary loss in concentration and some injudicious shot-selection brought about the downfall of captain Mohammad Ashraful (21), Kopali and Shakib. Ashraful skied an attempted pull, Alok went for a wild swing and Shakib, who orchestrated the Bangladesh recovery with a 99-run partnership for the 5th wicket Roqibul danced out against spin and was stumped. Shakib had swept, cut and used his feet impeccably until his dismissal.
 
Bangladesh shuffled the batting line in a bid to give the top-order batters more time in the middle. Kopali had gone in at four while Shakib came before Roqibul. Although the run rate was always over impressive four wickets for 41 runs inside the last 10 overs upset the momentum before number ten Farhad Reza's 14-ball 22 gave sheen to the finish. Roqibul's innings was a study in concentration but he was forced to dig in rather than going for his shots in the closing overs as he ran out of partners.
 
The target was only going to be challenging if the AIS had lost early wickets. That did not happen as the bowlers could not keep sustained pressure. Opener Usman Khawaja (94) and Henriques (82), who promoted himself to number three 127 and by the time Khawaja was dismissed the AIS already had 206 on the board. There was however a last ditch fight from the Bangladesh bowlers but AIS always had the wickets in hand. Shakib finished his 10 overs giving away just 34 and took two wickets while Abdur Razzak showed he was getting close to his best with figures of (10-0-38-1). Mashrafe Bin Mortaza toiled away without luck but was the best among the Tigers paceman.

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