Tigers set to take on Aussies in ODI opener
Saturday, 30 August 2008

Agency

Fully settled in Darwin and encouraged by the team's batting form Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful is confident that the Tigers will give it all when they face Australia in the first ODI at the TIO Stadium Saturday.

"We arrived here much earlier than teams normally would and had five good competitive practice matches. We are familiar with the conditions.

The results are irrelevant because the objective was to get hard practice and we certainly got that," said Ashraful during a pre-match media session.
 
"I am particularly pleased with the way our batsmen have performed. We crossed 300 twice and made 288, 270 and 229. Our bowlers are also showing signs that they are getting their rhythm back," Ashraful added.
 
Bangladesh did their warm ups and fielding drills at the TIO Stadium today, the first time they have trained at the main venue.
 
"We haven't played there but I watched Australia's warm-up match against the AIS yesterday. The outfield is vast and drop-in pitches can have variable bounce. They really (Australia) struggled to score and I do hope that happens tomorrow also. I think anything between 220 to 240 would be a competitive total on that wicket," said Ashraful.
 
Bangladesh have gone in with three pace bowlers for the match. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain have bowled well on the tour so far and Nazmul Hossain will take the third seamer's role. Mehrab Hossain, who made a sparkling unbeaten 132 in the last warm-up game will open the batting with Tamim Iqbal. Farhad Reza, Zunaed Siddique, Mahmud Ullah and Dollar Mahmud have been left out.
 
Ashraful said the memories of the victory against the Aussies in Cardiff in 2005 and the performance in the first Test at Fatullah in 2006 where they almost won the match would spur the team on but there were more important things to address.
 
"Those performances gave us a lot of confidence but for a repeat we have to do the process right in batting, bowling and fielding here. We are looking forward to the matches and the fact bthat they are without some of their top players doesn't concern us. We are thinking of our own game and how best we can execute our plan."
 
Coach Jamie Siddons said the TIO pitch with its slower character could help the Tigers and any help from the track would be welcome.
 
"I can remember it pretty well that in the Cardiff game the wicket played a few tricks early and we (Bangladesh) won the toss and bowled. If we can get a wicket like that out here that is better for us to bowl on then we'll be competitive and have a chance of winning the game," said Siddons who was assistant coach of Australia when Bangladesh pulled off the five-wicket triumph.
 
"The only thing that will play into our hands a little bit is the fact that they (Australia) haven't been playing a lot of cricket and we have. It has happened to the Aussies before, they've had little breaks and it takes them a game or two to get going. In the warm-up match they looked a bit rusty, especially in batting but they were typical Australia while bowling," Siddons added while touching on Australia's 54 run win against the AIS after getting bowled out for 177.
 
Siddons felt the present Bangladesh side was a more talented bunch.
 
"The side that we've got is a more talented side without a doubt. Whether they're as match hardened or as internationally match hardened is another thing. But the ability that this side has got now definitely promise a far better side, a far more naturally gifted side for the future."
 
Stand-in Australia captain Michael Clarke declared that the team will show no signs of complacency against Bangladesh and Darwin will not be another Cardiff.
 
"I can guarantee you that definitely won't happen this time. It has happened to us before and we've lost. As soon as you take things for granted I think you find yourself asking questions why you've lost that game. It's certainly a memory that you never forget," Clarke said. "For me personally it's not because Bangladesh beat Australia it's because we took a team for granted. From that day I've certainly learnt that in international cricket you can't afford to do that
The match starts at 9:30am local time (6:00am Bangladesh Standard Time).
 
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Mehrab Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful (Captain), Roqibul Hassan, Shakib Al Hasan, Alok Kopali, Dhiman Ghosh (Wicketkeeper), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (Vice Captain), Abdur Razzak, Nazmul Hossain and Shahadat Hossain.
 
Australia (Probable): Michael Clarke (Captain), Michael Hussey (Vice Captain), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin (Wicketkeeper), James Hopes, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson.

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