The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bangla face the firing squad

Darwin: What pundits are billing as potentially the greatest mismatch in Test history gets underway on Friday when mighty Australia take on minnows Bangladesh, officially the world’s worst team.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore was fuming on the eve of his side’s first-ever Test against Australia when asked if he was confident the match would last more than two days.

Whatmore, who took charge last month of Test cricket’s newest nation, took a few seconds before replying “absolutely” and after the interview at Marrara Oval took exception with the radio reporter over her question.

Bangladesh’s modest record of 19 Tests for 18 losses and a rain-affected draw since debut in 2000 has pundits declaring a rout of spectacular proportions. David Hookes has even said there is potential for the five-day Tests to turn into one-day events with a flurry of records.

The Australian team has not been part of the public denigration of the Bangladeshi novices, speaking of their respect for the developing Asian team.

Captain Steve Waugh, a great cricket traditionalist, has called the outpourings of scorn as “sledging by the media.”

“There’s been a lot of rubbish written over the last couple of weeks about this Test match,” Waugh said.

“These guys are capable cricketers. They’ve won two games on tour so far. They’ve played 19 Test matches as a country, it’s not going to be a walkover, we’re going to have to play good cricket.

“They’re developing and they haven’t won a Test match yet. They have to start somewhere and it doesn’t do them any good to continually read a lot of what has been in the papers and around the place. “They’re much better than what’s been written.”

The Australian captain said his team was working on cleaning up its much-criticised sledging reputation. “As a general rule the team is pretty well behaved on the field,” Waugh said. “The teams we play respect us and we respect them, occasionally things do happen but we’re trying to rectify that.

“We have some things to work on, we’ve talked about that for the last couple of years, but occasionally things get out of control,” he said.


Australia: Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Darren Lehmann, Steve Waugh (captain), Martin Love, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath.

Bangladesh (from): Khaled Mahmud (captain), Javed Omar, Habibul Bashar, Monjurul Islam, Masrafe Mortaza, Al Sahariar, Khaled Mashud, Mohammed Rafique, Anwar Hossain, Sanwar Hossain, Mohammad Ashraful, Tapash Baishya, Tareq Aziz, Alok Kapali, Hannan Sarkar.

Umpires: Rudi Koertzen (SA), David Shepherd (Eng).

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