Colombo: Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist smashed brisk half-centuries as Australia scored an easy nine-wicket victory over minnows Bangladesh in the Champions Trophy tournament on Thursday. Hayden slammed an unbeaten 67 and Gilchrist 54, as Australia comfortably surpassed Bangladesh's modest total of 129 in a mismatch to qualify for the semi-finals following its second successive win in the three-team group. It will now clash with Sri Lanka for a place in the final on September 27. Australia was hardly tested by Bangladesh, which has beaten a Test-playing nation just once in 54 One-day Internationals. That was in the 1999 World Cup in England when it upset Pakistan. The only consolation for Bangladesh was it survived Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie's three-wicket burst to avoid its biggest embarrassment in the shorter version of the game. Bangladesh was in danger of recording its lowest-ever total against the in-form Australians, which had thrashed New Zealand by 164 runs in its previous game. Bangladesh's worst score came at this venue last month when it was shot out for 76 against Sri Lanka. It was reeling at 13-4 in the eighth over before small contributions from Alok Kapali (45), Tushar Imran (27) and skipper Khaled Mashud (22) helped it cross the 100-mark. If Gillespie exposed Bangladesh's batting limitations with a hostile spell, Hayden and Gilchrist thrived on their rivals' mediocre attack on a slow pitch to steer their team to an emphatic win. Gilchrist hammered nine fours in his 49-ball knock and Hayden one six and 10 boundaries in his 69-ball innings to complete a Bangladeshi rout. They were involved in a 113-run stand for the opening wicket. Man-of-the-match Gillespie virtually made a mockery of the Bangladeshi batting with a sharp opening spell, grabbing three wickets for just 13 in his opening six overs. It turned out to be a slaughter of the lambs as none of the top-order batsmen showed the courage to stand at the wicket, let alone score, against the renowned pace duo of Gillespie and Glenn McGrath. Gillespie began the slide with his second delivery when he trapped opener Al Sahariyar leg before for nought with a ball that cut in sharply off the pitch. One ball later, Gillespie had Habibul Bashar caught by wicket-keeper Gilchrist to reduce Bangladesh to 0-2. There was no respite from the other end as McGrath soon made it 10-3 with the wicket of opener Javed Omar, who uppishly drove the fast bowler to Brett Lee at mid-off. Gillespie then ended Mazharul Haque's uncomfortable stay at the crease, having the batsman caught behind for three for his third victim. Scoring became a bit easier after spinners Darren Lehmann and Shane Warne were introduced into the attack as Bangladesh batted steadily to cross its lowest One-day total. Mashud put on 36 for the fifth wicket with Tushar and as many for the next with Kapali before being bowled round the legs by leg spinner Warne. Kapali, 18, was the lone batsman to defy the Australian attack for more than an hour. He was the ninth batsman out, beaten by Lee's pace to be bowled.
Scorecard of Match 8
Bangladesh crumbles to Australian pace, 129 all out