Score Card After Day one:
Bangladesh 260 All Out (Shakib Al Hasan 84, Tamim 71, Nasir 23, Mushfique 18, Mehedi 18, Ashton Ager 3/46, PJ Cummins 3/63, Nathan Lyon 3/79) Australia 18/3 (Shakib 1/3, Mehedi 1/7)
Changed Bangladesh had their nose in front against Australia on day one. It was an absorbing first day of the first Test between Australia and Bangladesh full of fascinating contest between bat and ball on a batsmen’s mine field.
Bangladesh did well finishing 260 all out after getting reduced to 10/3 by the fourth over of the day. Coincidentally Australia in its turn also lost 3 wickets in the last four overs of the day and was reeling at 18/3 when the stumps were drawn.
In between Shakib and Tamim, both playing their 50th Test batted superbly putting on 155 invaluable match defining partnership. Tamim scored 71 and Shakib 84. Both were looking good for centuries. But both fell to spinners.
Bangladeshi spinners Shakib and Miraz put Australians in a tangle on a wicket turning and bouncing and even showing ups and downs.
At 18/3 with David Warner and Usman Khawaja back in the hut work is cut out for captain Smith and the rest of the batsmen keeping the Bangladeshi spinners at bay during the very intriguing second day.
Poor Team Selection and Early Pressure:
Bangladesh winning the toss and elected to bat without any hesitation on a wicket showing cracks at the very first look. The Bangladesh playing XI for the match without arguably the best Test batsman Mominul Haque shocked and surprised almost all Bangladeshi followers anywhere and everywhere.
Picking Soumya Sarkar ahead of him and slotting him ahead of Imrul Kayes opening the innings also surprised many. If not these are enough, bringing Sabbir Rahman bat at four appeared ridiculous when team was reeling after losing Soumya in only the second over of the day and Imrul soon afterwards.
The consequence was Bangladesh had it’s back to the wall at 10/3. Soumya’s flat footed approach was exploited by Cummins. He was looking vulnerable at every ball he played. Imrul and Sabbir were consumed in innocuous deliveries.
Cummins was generating pace and disconcerting bounce. With Hazelwood in his true element two world class batsman Tamim and Shakib had their works cut out.
Cummins feed Soumya for his favourite slashes away from his body. Soumya also chanced his arms without setting his eye in and finally he succumbed to a short lifting delivery edging in the slip cordon.
Kayes was not comfortable right from the first ball. He was seen pushing and prodding. Finally and sharp rising in swinger found inside edge of his bat. Bangladesh was 10/2 in no time.
Situation warranted experienced technically sound Mushfiqur Rahim coming to bat. But instead Sabbir not at all suitable for playing the red cherry early on in Test was sent as sacrificial goat. He could not survive more than one ball nicking behind a full delivery of Cummins.
10/3 took the gloss out of Bangladesh innings.
Shakib –Tamim Turned the Tide
Two brilliant servants of Bangladesh terrific Tamim and sizzling Shakib appearing in their 50th Test match of their career started carrying the team on their broad shoulders.
The ball started talking. Pacers found pace and bounce, spinners started turning and exploiting uneven bounce. Tamim curbed his natural instinct but Shakib went on his merry own self. They not only stopped the slide but laid a solid foundation to the innings confronting quality Australian attack.
Most importantly Australian spinners Lyon and Agar were not allowed to settle. Tamim started some hefty blows throwing Lyon over and across the rope dancing down the wicket. Partnership turned 50 and then 100 and they went on.
After lunch Tamim changed gear and appeared in his aggressive mode. Shakib restrained a bit after scoring his 22nd fifty. Tamim followed him soon. Steve did not lose ideas. His bowlers kept probing.
Wicket on the second session of the first started turning sharply and odd balls were jumping from the length. Maxwell was brought into the attack pairing Lyon. The off spinning combination got rid of two settled batsmen bringing relief to Australian captain.
Tamim and Shakib were both looking set for centuries. But both fell to quality deliveries. Tamim fell to Maxwell on 71 and Lyon picked Shakib on 84. Two blooming innings did not flower. Yes 155 runs fourth wicket partnership pulling Bangladesh from virtual ruins may ultimately prove the turning point of the match.
Bangladesh Middle Order Collapse:
Batting on a turning bouncing wicket on uneven surface appeared a real challenge. Australian spinners Lyon, Agar and Maxwell teased and tested Bangladesh batting.
Even solid Mushfiqur could do little. Nasir (23), Mushfiqur (18) and Mehedi (18) tried to put up some resistance. But Bangladesh missed the tried and tested Mahmudullah Riyad in the late middle order.
The only other partnership of substance 42 came from Nasir and Mehedi. Some balls were jumping unexpectedly from length and some others were dying. Bangladesh did well reaching 260 all out.
Ashton Ager (3/43) and Nathan Lyon (3/79) were the main destroyers after Cummins triple strikes early putting Bangladesh on the back foot. Bangladesh middle order collapse was a combination of intelligent Australian bowling and inept Bangladesh batting.
Yet 260 in the context of the match did not appear that insufficient. But considering the match condition and the wicket a 300 plus score could be more assuring.
Australians Were Pegged Back
Australia had to bat only 9 overs in the extended session for recovering some time lost due to rain. Bangladeshs spinners were expected do it better that what Australins did on a turning track.
Shaiful and Mehedi opened the attack. Mehedi’s deliveries started talking. Both Warner and Renshaw appeared groping in the dark.
Mehedi bowled teasing deliveries turning sharply and hurrying both the batsmen. He struck Warner twice in front. On the first, Warner survived narrowly on DRS review. But after second strike he walked. Bangladesh struck early blow and that through the golden arm of Mehedi. Removal of dangerous Warner set panic in the Aussie camp.
Shakib joined young Mehedi. Usman Khawja looked panicked. He ran himself out like a novice. Pushing Shakib to cover he tried an impossible run. Soumya smartly dived with the ball to have him run out.
Nathan Lyon was sent as a night watchman. Unfortunately the changed Bangladesh is now too good to bring that Jasson Gillespi Night Watchman Chittagong memory back. Shakib soon trapped him plumb in front.
Three Australian wickets tumbled in the final four overs of the day almost the in the same fashion as it happened at the start of the Bangladesh innings. Australians were pegged back at 18/3.
Can Australia Revive?
A very absorbing first day of the Test witnessing 13 wickets tumbling and some quality batting seen promised a glorious second second day if weather holds.
Steve Smith, one of the top batsmen of present day cricket is still there. He can be the X-factor in the test.
Young Queenslander Matt Renshaw is having his graduation against quality spin bowling on a spinning paradise. Another quality youngster Victorian Peter Handscomb would follow. Glen Maxwell and Matthew Wade are also good batsmen in Australian middle order.
But none would grind and graft .There would be chances coming here and there all the time.
Bangladesh has not brought Mustafizur Rahman and Taijul Islam in the attack yet. Even Nasir Hossain can be handy on the surface. Mustafiz may enjoy bowling on the wicket. His mystery slow cutters may also grip. Australians never say die till they are dead.
Kangaroos have strong hind legs. Bangladesh has to bowl consistently well to wrap up Aussie innings as soon as possible with weather threatening interruption. A 50-60 runs first innings lead will be a deciding factor.
With only 3 of the 15 sessions of the five days of the match gone it is too early to predict. But to the delight of cricket admirers Test cricket appeared with all its mystery, tensions and excitements. .
Playing XI and Batting Order Raised Controversy:
The report would remain incomplete if some reference is not made to playing XI selection. No sensible cricket planner would select Soumya Sarkar ahead of tried and tested quality bop order Batsman Mominul Haque against quality Australian attack.
Soumya is just not the batsman opening against genuine pace on not too fast wicket. He has flaws in his techniques. Mominul despite of his few failures in the last two Tests remains among the top three better Bangladesh Test batsmen at the moment.
The quality and experience of Mahmudullah Riyad was also sadly missed in Bangladesh middle order. And finally it was committing suicide sending Sabbir at four when team required someone better technically equipped. Persons working behind the scene appeared incompetent, novice and unworthy.
In a typical Tigers Kangaroo chase Tigers have nose in front. Whether they can manage the hind legs kicks of Kangaroos need to be seen as day two cricket evolve.