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Slow pitch would disturb Australia, hopes Bashar

Published: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Fatullah:Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar said his team were hoping to make the most of the slow pitch in the first Test against Australia.

"The pitch is slow and is expected to help turn from the third day, so we are hoping that will bother Australia a little," Bashar said ahead of the two-match series which commences on Sunday.

Bangladesh, who have struggled at Test level since their entry into the fold in 2000, take on the world's top team with people only speculating about how long the match will last.

But Bashar said he was not thinking about the thrashing that could be in store for them.

"We are not worried about the opposition or the result and are just concentrating on trying to give a good performance. We are hoping to do better than last time," he said.

Bangladesh lost both matches of their only previous Test series against Australia by innings margins but Bashar felt the home advantage and experience had changed things a little.

"We are playing at home, have improved over the past few years, and are trying not to come under pressure this time," said Bashar, Bangladesh's batting mainstay in Tests with 2,697 runs in 40 matches.

Bangladesh had shocked Australia in a tri-series match in England last year and have also beaten India and Sri Lanka in one-dayers over the past two seasons but have yet to come up with consistent performances in Tests.

They have a solitary win in 42 Tests, against a depleted Zimbabwe team last year, and have struggled to take better teams into the fourth day of Test matches.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting too expected the pitch at the latest Test venue to be slow but said that made no difference.

"The pitch is bare and the ball will turn a bit. We have top-class spinners like Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill who can do the job for us," said Ponting, fresh from leading his side to a 3-0 Test series win in South Africa.

The Narayanganj Osmani Stadium here has not hosted a Test match before though two one-dayers were held here during a four-match series against Kenya that the home side won 4-0.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore, who indicated that Alok Kapail, Syed Rasel and Nafees Iqbal would not play in the first Test, said he missed having all-rounders in the side.

"If we had a good seaming all-rounder or even a spinner who could bat well in the middle-order, we could hope to put up a better show. But things have not changed much on that front over the past few years," said Whatmore.

The second Test will be played in the eastern port city of Chittagong from April 16 and will be followed by a three-match One-day series.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Khaled Mashud, Javed Omar, Rajin Saleh, Mohammad Ashraful, Shahriar Nafees, Nafees Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Mohammad Rafique, Enamul Haque, Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Phil Jacques, Damien Martyn, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark.

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