Australia wary of unpredictable Bangladesh

Published: Saturday, March 31, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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St John's (Antigua&Barbuda):Australia's World Cup captain Ricky Ponting could be forgiven for a hint of exasperation on Friday when he was reminded of his team's shock loss to Bangladesh in Cardiff two years ago.

On the eve of the champions' World Cup Super Eights match against the ninth-ranked one-day international nation, Ponting said the result had long since been consigned to the record books.

"We've worked it out. A lot's been said about it already," Ponting told a news conference. "It's long gone and forgotten about as far as we are concerned. We just didn't play at our best that day."

Bangladesh's extraordinary five-wicket victory on the back of a century in 101 balls by Mohammad Ashraful was one of a series of reverses for Australia in 2005, culminating in the loss of the Ashes for the first time since they reclaimed the urn in 1989.

"The cricket you've seen us play the last few weeks would indicate that on Saturday, the way we are going at the moment, that we should be able to play cricket good enough to win this game," Ponting said.

"That's all we've been focused on the last couple of days.

Bangladesh gained full Test status after beating Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.

They defeated India in the first round and it is an indication of the evolving game in Asia that it is Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who have progressed to the Super Eights and not India and Pakistan.

"They've probably used the minnow tag very well in their favour. I think they are actually a bit better than that," Ponting said. "They have improved a lot, there's no doubt about that.

"They've got some young players who are very capable on their day and we have prepared for them as we would a South Africa, a West Indies or a New Zealand game.

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar pointed out his team had beaten New Zealand in the warm-up matches and then India in the tournament proper.

"Everyone is in the right form, everyone is contributing at the right times. On our day if we can play together we can beat anyone.

"When you play a team like India, when you think too much and you plan too much it's not going to happen, it's better to go there with a positive mind.

"If you play your best and don't think too much, that's what we plan to do. They will play their natural games on Saturday.

"They (Australia) are scoring 300 runs constantly so it doesn't matter what plans you have, if you don't bowl in the right place they will come after you."


Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist (wk), Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson and Stuart Clark. Coach: John Buchanan.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Tapash Baisya, Syed Rasel, Rajin Saleh and Javed Omar. Coach: Dav Whatmore.


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