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    May 27, 2005

    Brian goes ballistic while Bangladesh get battered

    The first test between England and Bangladesh at Lord's is already a no-contest. At the end of the first day, England already had a 80 run lead after sending Bangladesh in to bat and dismissing them for 108. It is very likely that the game will end in three days, giving Vaughan the opportunity to catch a Sheffield Wednesday game during the weekend. But this also means sleepless nights for the MCC.

    Bangladesh, who have been patronized and criticized by the English media, started promisingly with the openers putting on 30 in 9 overs. After that, it was downhill all the way. 30/0 became 31/1 and 34/2. Aftab Ahmed and Javed Omar steadied things for a while but wickets continued to fall in clusters as Bangladesh slipped to 65/3 and then 65/4. When Ashraful was out at 71/5, the game was less than 20 overs old. Shortly after lunch, Khaled Mashud was dismissed. The last four batsmen scored 14 runs in 4 overs. Javed Omar's 22 was the top score with Aftab Ahmed and the teenaged debutant Mushfiqur Rahim running him close with 20 and 19 respectively. Hoggard took 4 wickets while Harmison & Flintoff took two each and Jones took one. Gareth Batty, known primarily because Brian Lara scored his 400th run of his bowling at Antigua last year, was reduced to the role of a ball-boy in his first game in England.

    England's reply was predictable as the bowlers, with the exception of Mortaza and Rafique, bowled with very little control and discipline. The 50 came up in the 8th over and the batsmen even had the luxury of slowing down the pace as the 100 partnership between Trescothick and Strauss came up in the 21st over. Both batsmen looked set to score centuries, which would have made Strauss the first one to get a hundred in his first innings against four sides consecutively. But Mortaza trapped Strauss plumb in front when the partnership had reached 148 in the 30th over. With England highly unlikely to bat twice in this game, Strauss' dismissal also meant that he failed to score a test century at Lord's for the first time in his short career so far. Vaughan, batting at #3, joined Trescothick and the two took England to stumps without any problems.

    Reactions from Whatmore & Strauss, Andrew Miller, Jonathan Agnew, Al-Amin, Derek Pringle, Mike Selvey, Angus Fraser and Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

    Photos from the BBC.

    A few timezones away, West Indies were dragged out of trouble against Pakistan by Lara and Chanderpaul in the first test at Barbados. Lara's century and Chanderpaul's near century ensured that West Indies finished the day much better than they had started. But they were all out for 345 on the first day, which ended up defeating the purpose of opting to bat first. Pakistan were 12 without loss at stumps, with Shahid Afridi even finding time to hit a six.

    Shabbir Ahmed dismissed Gayle & Sarwan cheaply and Lara came in at 25/2 in the 10th over. From the outset, he made it amply clear that he wanted to hit Shabbir out of the attack. None of the bowlers, barring Naved-ul-Hasan Rana escaped from his assault. After Smith got out with the score on 45, Chanderpaul joined Lara in the rescue act and the two put on more than 150 in just 30 overs, rescuing West Indies yet again.

    His shotmaking ensured that he kept scoring at more than a run-a-ball during his innings and after lunch, he cut loose and was especially severe on Kaneria and Afridi. But a few balls after he scored his 29th test century, which puts him level with Bradman, he was bowled, trying an expansive drive off Kaneria.

    Once Lara was out, Chanderpaul took over the job of ensuring that the lower order batted sensibly and he managed to cajole a half-century stand from Hinds and a 25-run stand from Browne. Daren Powell batted sensibly as Chanderpaul and he put on nearly 50 runs for the 7th wicket. Chanderpaul was dismissed eight short of a well deserved century to give Kaneria his second wicket. The rest of the tailenders batted in true West Indian fashion as Razzaq cleaned them up. Shabbir, Razzaq and Kaneria ended up with three wickets each.

    Pakistan's batting lineup, even in the absence of Inzamam and Youhana, who has returned to Pakistan to attend to his ill father, will challenge West Indies' weak bowling lineup, whose abilities and achievements are well documented. Getting all out on the first day is a very bad idea. Lara's innings, while obviously being brilliant, was not substantial enough. Perhaps he scored his runs too rapidly. He and Chanderpaul needed to have scored in excess of 150 for a substantial total. West Indies made 345 at a runrate of 4.1. They didn't bat long enough. Now Pakistan have the luxury of trying to bat for two days and put West Indies under a lot of pressure.

    Lara's century meant that he joins Dravid, Tendulkar, Kirsten and Waugh with centuries against nine test playing countries. Dravid in fact has a century in every test playing nation.

    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:39 AM |
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