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Aussies blow away Bangla
FIRST TEST - McGrath, Lee take three wickets each as visitors fall for paltry 97

Darwin: Australia were on target to record one of cricket’s easiest ever wins after bowling out Bangladesh for a paltry 97 on the opening day of the first Test on Friday. Australia were in complete control at stumps, having reached 121 for two after Bangladesh had collapsed to be all out within three hours of the start.

The hosts finished the day leading by 24 runs with eight first-innings wickets in hand and chasing the prospect of victory inside two days.

Darren Lehmann was unbeaten on 51 with opener Justin Langer not out 40 after Matthew Hayden (11) and Ricky Ponting (10) both went cheaply.

Any hopes Bangladesh had of mounting a serious challenge against the world champions faded almost as soon as the match began when they were skittled out in just 42.2 overs.

The tourists offered little resistance with only four players reaching double-figures — confirming pre-game predictions of a horribly one-sided contest.

Mohammad Ashraful top-scored with 23 and captain Khaled Mahmud made 21 but none else made any impression against a potent Australian attack.

Three players were out without scoring and just seven boundaries were hit during the entire innings as Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Stuart MacGill wreaked havoc.

Yet to win a match since being awarded Test status three years ago, Bangladesh made a terrible start after being sent in with opener Hannan Sarkar trapped leg-before for a duck in the fifth over when he padded up to McGrath.

Javed Omar and Habibul Bashar briefly steadied the ship with a 22-run partnership for the second wicket before the former departed for five. Omar gloved a steeply-rising delivery from Gillespie to Adam Gilchrist to trigger a top-order collapse.

Lee bowled Bashar for 16 and Al-Sahariar Rokon for a duck before leg-spinner MacGill removed Alok Kapali without scoring as Bangladesh slumped to 40 for five. Ashraful batted for more than an hour to compile a patient 23 before inexplicably throwing his wicket away when he pulled McGrath straight to Gillespie at fine-leg just before lunch.

Mahmud and wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud added 27 for the eighth wicket after the re-start, the best partnership of the innings, to take the score along to 87 for six before another collapse saw the last four wickets tumble for just 10 runs. (Reuters)

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