Friday, 29 February 2008

Jason Gillespie announced his retirement

Former Australian fast-bowler Jason Gillespie announced his retirement from first-class cricket Friday.
The 32-year-old paceman announced his decision during South Australias Pura Cup match against Queensland.
Gillespie, Australias sixth-highest Test wicket taker, has turned his back on the
domestic game to concentrate on his family and the rebel Twenty20 Indian Cricket League, for which he has signed for three years.
He said it was a tough decision, but one he was comfortable with.
Im very excited it certainly is a change, but its something Im very much looking forward to, he said.
The opportunity came up and I had to weigh things up, I wasnt sure what I was going to dowhether I was going to play on another season with SA.
I was umming and aahing at that point.
The body is feeling good so well see how we go; obviously I cant do the things I could do six or seven years ago, but I still feel Im contributing.
Gillespie had a lot of problems with injuries early in his career, but recovered to become one of the countrys finest quick bowlers.
I am grateful to Cricket Australia for sticking by me early in my career when I was plagued by injuries, he said.
And I am grateful to the selectors who continued to have faith and select me to play in more than 175 first-class matches.
Gillespie took 259 wickets in 71 Tests at 26.13, with best figures of 9-80.
In his last Test, against Bangladesh, he made and unbeaten 201 as a night watchman.
He also played 97 one-day internationals, for 142 wickets at 25.42.

Great Batting Display by G.Smith & N.McKenzie

Bangladesh bowlers toiled all the day for no reward as South Africa compiled a massive 405-0 in a record filled opening day of the second Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium on Friday.
Opener Graeme Smith smacked a double century to remain unbeaten on 223 while Neil McKenzie ended his seven year wait for the third century making a career-best 169 not out.
The duo gave no chance to the luckless Bangladesh bowlers on a flat batting track that offered neither seam movement nor turn. Bangladesh had spent the day tmostly scavenging the ball out of the boundary rope.
They are now eyeing a world record opening partnership of 413 runs, set by Vinu Mankad and Pankaj Roy nearly 52 years ago against New Zealand in Chennai. Given the manner in which the wicket was behaving, the record is very much within their reach.
It was really a painful day for us. We tried almost everything, but did not get any success. There was nothing in the wicket. No movement, any turn and also there wasnt any luck with us, lamented Bangltadesh pacer Shahadat Hosssain, portraying the true picture of the days play.
South Africa won the toss and Smith did not hesitate for a second to go for batting. They went for lunch at 92-0 giving an early indication of what was coming next.
Records started to fall one after another in the last two sessions presenting Bangladesh one of their worst ever nightmares in a Test match. It was the third time they the spent a day without any wicket.
Last time they went wicket-less in a day was against India in May 2007 at Dhaka. The other happened incidentally came also versus South Africa in Chittagong in 2003 during their previous tour.
Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph had shared a 429-run partnership in that game at the MA Aziz Stadium. It is the highest-ever partnership for any wicket against Bangladesh, a record that is now also about to fall.
Smith and McKenzie have already eclipsed the best opening partnership record of 175 runs against Bangladesh, made by Indias Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Kartik in Dhaka last year.
Only four times now in the history of the game have the openers dominated a days play. Last time it happened about 19 years ago when Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor remained undivided to score 301 runs against England at Nottinghamshire in 1989.
We tried our very hard to separate the openers. If we could do it, I am sure we could have earned a few more wickets as success brings success.
But nothing went in our favour today, bemoaned Shahadat.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

SA to Attack Bangladesh in 2nd Test

After a rude awakening in the opening Test, South Africa will be looking for a more reassuring performance when they meet Bangladesh in the second and final match starting Friday.
Though the South Africans won the opener in Dhaka by a five-wicket margin and nearly two days to spare, they conceded a first innings lead to their under-rated rivals and largely looked out of sorts while batting.
To the credit of the hosts, they gave it their all but lacked the killer punch that could have upstaged their mighty opponents.
Paceman Shahadat Hossain impressed the most among the bowlers with a nine-wicket match haul while young opener Junaid Siddique also showed he had the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
The South African batting looked in disarray with only skipper Graeme Smith managing a half-century in either innings.
The way some of the South African batters lost their wicket smacked of over-confidence although they did make amends somewhat in reaching the 205-run target, their highest successful run chase in the sub-continent. Smith admitted the game had served as a wake-up call for his team which was still trying to come to terms with the conditions.
After three months of playing at home, in a different style, using a certain game plan, this was a big wake-up call, he said.
I am glad the normal Test team is here so we can realise again how tough it is to play here.
Our style of playing we were brought up on has turned from day to night here. You need a whole different technique as a batsman, as a bowler, in your thinking method and in these ways you get people out. It all changes.
We have to start working harder. If we can last in these conditions, we will be well prepared when we go to India, Smith added.
The Proteas will once again be distracted by the selection row that marred the build-up to this series with talks about a disciplinary hearing involving board president Norman Arendse being held over the weekend back home.
There was also speculation that some of the players, including Smith, would return home after the Test for a short break ahead of the three-Test series against India.
However media manager Michael Owen Smith told AFP a decision was yet to be taken on their departure.
For Bangladesh, the chief worry is the form of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and veteran batsman Habibul Bashar.
While Bashar, already axed from the one-day side, looks likely to make way for a youngster in the batting line up, Rahim may be persisted with because of the faith of coach Jamie Siddons in his abilities. The Test will be followed by three one-dayers.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Bangladesh Under-19 Showed Superb Performance

Captain Suharwardi Shuvo salvaged, inspired and ran ragged to help Bangladesh clinch a 13-run win over England yesterday in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at the Royal Selangor Club ground in Kuala Lumpur.

Shuvo first undertook a rescue operation to make sure his bowlers had a total to bowl at after the top and middle order stooped to 49-7 in the 14th over. His bat produced an unbeaten 56 off 100 balls to take the young Tigers to 149 in 42 overs. In the second essay of the game, Shuvo led by example again; athletic fielding and bowling a typically tight spell of left-arm spin as the young English batsmen had little to show for, being bowled out for 136 runs in 47.4 overs.

The win gives Bangladesh a match against South Africa in the first quarterfinal at the Bayuemas Oval tomorrow, while England's loss gave them the tougher opponent from Group B India.

But it could have been the exact opposite. On a moist wicket, in-form opener Ashraful Hossain fell for a second-ball duck to paceman James Harris. Nadimuddin Mintu, Rony Talukdar and Mahmudul Hasan Limon followed suit as Harris picked up five wickets including the wicket of Nasir Hossain (4). Bangladesh were tottering at 27-6 when Limon fell lbw to Harris.

And when wicketkeeper-batsman Ashiqul Islam fell for a 21-ball 16, the match was there for England's taking. The crowd of around a hundred Bangladeshis went quiet as their boys were in deep trouble.

But Shuvo, who stood at the other end, had a willing ally in Dollar Mahmud and the two first had to make sure of a decent score. That they did with the help of a lot of singles, rather than boundaries. Dollar, a tail-ender at best, scored a 77-ball 36 while the skipper was patient in his unbeaten 56. The two added 81 for the eighth wicket. Shuvo added a further 19 with Rubel Hossain as Bangladesh were closed at 149.

The crowd were in high spirits and it was learned that a momentum shift was evident, as the youngsters felt confident with a talented bowling line-up.

James Taylor cracked two boundaries in a 30-ball 24 but wicketkeeper Ashiqul cut short his stay with a brilliant diving effort in the eighth over. That was England's first wicket to fall in the tournament and as predicted, their untested middle-order crashed at the face of an inspiring bowling and fielding display.

Two run-outs -- Billy Godleman and Alex Wakely -- through Limon and Mithun Ali ensure Bangladesh fought back and then it was Shuvo's turn to put one final stamp on the match. He removed dangerous Tom Westley, who stuck for a patient 57-ball 21. Two more run-outs and some splendid bowling from pacemen Suvashish Roy and Rubel Hossain coupled with Nasir's two wickets and another superb spell from off-spinner Limon gave Bangladesh a brilliant come-from-behind victory.

Shuvo was presented with the man-of-the-match award quite predictably and there was double delight as BCB president Maj Gen Sina Ibn Jamali announced a US$2000 bonus for a most fantastic victory.

149 all out in 42 overs (Ashraful 0, Mithun 10, Nadimuddin 0, Nasir 4, Rony 0, Limon 0, Ashiqul 16, Shuvo 56*, Dollar 36, Rubel 6, Subhashish 0, Harris 5-29)
ENGLAND: 136 all out in 47.4 overs (Taylor 24, Westley 21, Redfern 26, Shubashash 1-17, Rubel 1-26, Shuvo 1-21, Nasir 2-20, Limon 2-16).
Result: Bangladesh won by 13 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Suharwardi Shuvo.

Bowlers Fighting For Bangladesh

The Bangladesh batsmen have only themselves to blame for yet another erratic display, but the bowlers raised unlikely hopes of taking a first innings lead after the end of first day in the Warid first Test against South Africa on Friday.
Having managed a meagre total of 192 runs, the bowlers reduced South Africa 76-4, giving coach Jamie Siddons and captain Mohammad Ashraful something to tell in the post-day press conference.
I think we gave away a pretty good opportunity to put South Africa in a spot of trouble. Batting first in our condition, our wicket, we should have done a lot better. I am disappointed but still we have some hope out there. We fought our way back and we are still in the match, said Siddons.
Everyone saw a massive improvement in our batsmen but then they played a shot for no reason like Ashraful and Aftab did.
Aftab and Ashraful top scored for Bangladesh in the first innings with 44 and 34 respectively but both of them had their share of blame for spoiling a good start with careless shots.
Aftab put together 70 runs for the sixth wicket with Sakib al Hasan to help the Tigers go past 150 in their first innings for the first time in seven Tests after South African seamers left the hosts tottering at 82-5 before lunch.
He lofted a catch to Makhaya Ntini at mid-off off Johan Botha when the batsman looked set for a big score. The same bowler had earlier scalped Ashraful with only in his fifth ball of the match.
After hitting the spinner for two consecutive fours, Ashraful went for another big shot only to give a low return catch that ended stroke-filled innings of 34 that came off only 27 balls.
Quite a few of us like me Aftab, Shahriar, Sakib got a start in the innings but we could not carry on. If anyone of us could have made at least 70, we could have easily gone past 250, lamented Ashraful.
However, we still have a chance because our bowlers did so well. If we can restrict them to a minimal score tomorrow (Saturday), we could still have some competition.
South Africa set out to score 300 runs in the first innings but they lost Graeme Smith (10), Neil McKenzie (5), Hashim Amla (25) and Jacques Kallis (17) in less than two hours.
I am really happy at the way we bowled. You know, we have talked a lot after the warm-up game, about the game plan, about the reverse swing, about bowling to left-handers, said coach Mickey Arthur.
I am slightly disappointed with the batting at the moment, but we still have six wickets in hand and obviously we can squeeze our way to 300, said Arthur.
Wickets in the subcontinent are not like the ones we are used to have in South Africa. So, we know, whatever we do, we have to it in the first innings. It may not be very easy to bat here in the fourth innings, added Arthur.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

South Africa Ready to Face Bangla Tigers

The Mirpur pitch takes many forms' is the statement that came from none other than ace Bangladesh left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique.

There has been a debate on whether there is any point to talk too much about the pitch conditions when the batting of the Tigers is the main concern, but many still believe that the character of the surface can delude the South Africans.

Many even believe that it would be an interesting Test if the Bangladesh batsmen could manage to put some runs on the board.

But Rafique, who will bid bye to international cricket after the series, believes that the unpredictable nature of Mirpur pitch can boomerang against the home batsmen despite the fact that they have played a number of practice matches here.

"You can't say when it will start to produce bounce or start keeping low," said the experienced spinner, who along with his two fellow left-arm spinners is set to play a vital role in the Test.

South African skipper Graeme Smith was so curious about the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium that he even pulled off the covers during the practice session yesterday. He however was very much aware of the character of pitches on the subcontinent and remained optimistic about continuing their recent success.

"I think that few of the bowlers have put me under pressure already. From what we know, the wickets here don't really look good. We will have a lot of hard work to do in five days," the left-hander admitted at a press conference at the stadium yesterday.

"We have had a good chat this morning. We have learnt quite a lot from the warm-up game [at Fatullah]. Obviously we have got good confidence having won in Pakistan and It's also not so long ago," he added.

Despite Bangladesh's poor performance in the longer-version game, the well-built South African skipper said that it would be a challenge for them to take on the Tigers in their own den.

"But again, it's going to be a unique challenge here. And I think respecting the Bangladesh team is key. We have got to give them what they deserve. I think the subcontinent poses a great challenge because you really have to earn every win here," he said.

Smith was also a little bothered with his team's performance in the three-day match, but he hardly had any doubt about his team's success like he did in 2003 in his first tour as a captain.

"We used that match (practice) to get as much knowledge about the conditions as we could. We are just gathering as much information as possible. You know Bangladesh is not a team that we play often. We don't know many of the players as well, so for us it is about gaining as much information as possible," he observed.

He also spoke about his captaincy.

"I never dreamt of becoming South Africa's leading Test captain. Certainly it is a great honour and a wonderful achievement, I am proud of it," said the left-hander who took over the reins in 2003 at the age of 22 to become South Africa's youngest-ever captain following a disastrous World Cup campaign under Shaun Pollock

BCB Confident about India tri-series

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is optimistic about holding the triangular series involving India in this year.

There was uncertainty over the series in May this year as per the Future Tour Programme (FTP) of the ICC due to a clash with the IPL but Gazi Ashraf Hossain Lipu, chairman of the BCB's cricket operations committee, expressed his optimism yesterday.

"Hopefully we will get positive news regarding India's tour to Bangladesh within a short time. What I can say is that there is a good chance to hold the series before the next Asia Cup," said Lipu.

The issue has taken a positive turn after Lipu's meeting with BCCI officials during the ICC meeting in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The tour is very important for Bangladesh in terms of financial aspects as BCB's TV rights deal with Nimbus is made fully based on it.

Former national skipper Lipu also informed that his Cricket Australia counterparts agreed to hold this year's postponed two-Test series in July-August 2010 in northern Australia.

The series was originally scheduled to be played in August this year but was postponed due a clash with the Beijing Olympic Games. Cricket Australia has only agreed to host the Tigers for three one-dayers this year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ashraful is confident

A 400-plus total in the three-day warm-up match gave Bangladesh some hope before they go into the Warid first Test against South Africa starting at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday.

Its really a very encouraging sign. Seven players of our Test squad have played in the practice game and they all know now that these South Africans dont intimidate them, Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful told New Age.
Batting had been a major concern for us in the last few months. So, a good performance in the three-dayer was very crucial for us. We have restored our confidence with the innings of Junaed (Siddique), Sakib (al Hasan) and Aftab (Ahmed), added Ashraful.
Junaed scored a scintillating 103 before Sakib and Aftab hammered 73 and 45 respectively to help the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI pile up 412-8 in response to South Africas 397 in the drawn game.
Given the fact that Bangladeshs highest first innings total is just 143 in the last five Tests since Ashraful took over from the Habibul Bashar in June 2007, the warm-up came as a huge blessing.
Maybe it was a practice match and the South Africans were also not that serious, but from our point of view it was very important, said Ashraful.
South African captain Graeme Smith played down the impact of the match and said he will go with a different strategy in the Test match. Smith also hoped to a have different wicket at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Bangladesh skipped practice on Wednesday while for the South Africans it was optional, so only five players turned up. Meanwhile, Robin Pieterson and Neil McKenzie arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday and went straight to the stadium. The other three players were Dale Steyn, Andre Nel and JP Duminy.
McKenzie is set to replace Duminy in the first Test as a spinner while Pieterson is unlikely to play, South African team sources said. In the first Test their only spinning option could be Johan Botha.
It will be only the second Test for Botha, who was reported by umpires Aleem Dar and Billy Bowden for having a suspected action in his debut against Australia. He was banned for a year before undergoing a series of biomechanical tests to have got his action cleared.
But Botha might be still wary as Dar will be standing this time as well with Steve Bucknor, who is making his Test return. Each days play in the Test series will start at 10:00am and will be televised by Neo Sports.

Bangladesh U-19 Reach Quarter-Final

Bangladesh moved into the quarter-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup with a thumping eight-wicket victory over Ireland in their second group match at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Opener Ashraful Hossain smashed an unbeaten 71 off 79 balls, his second half-century in the competition to guide the Junior Tigers to 126-2 in 22.3 overs after the bowlers had restricted the Irish to 123 in 43.4 overs.
Ashraful cracked 14 boundaries in his swashbuckling innings and on the way shared in a 63-run for the opening partnership with Mithun Ali, who scored 31 before being caught behind. Nadimuddin was the other batsman to have been dismissed after scoring 14.
Earlier off-spinner Mahmudul Hasan claimed 4-17 in just 6.4 overs to baffle the Irish who were asked to bat by Bangladesh captain Sohrawardi Shuvo.
Unorthodox right-arm pacer Rubel Hossain took two for 32 while Dollar Mahmud, Subasish Roy and Nasir Hossain shared a wicket each.
Bangladesh will face England on Friday, a match which will decide the group championship. Both sides will be desperate to win the game to avoid favourites India in the quarter-finals.
India are set to win the Group B and are poised to take the Group D runners-up in the quarter-final on February 24. If Bangladesh can beat England in the last group match, they will face either West Indies or South Africa instead, both of whom they recently defeated.
AFP adds: Hosts Malaysia surprisingly beat Zimbabwe by 70 runs to raise a rare cheer for the minnows on Wednesday.
On a day when unfancied Papua New Guinea, Namibia and Ireland fell by the wayside, Malaysia put up a spirited display to give themselves an outside chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
Shahid Aslan shone for the hosts with an unbeaten 40 and three wickets as Malaysia, restricted to 194-8, bowled out Zimbabwe for 124 in a Group A match in Johor.
Malaysian captain Ahmad Faiz top-scored with 50, while team-mates Aminuddin Ramly and Nik Azril claimed two wickets each to stun the African side.
Malaysia must, however, beat New Zealand in their last league match today to join defending champions Pakistan in the quarter-finals.
In other matches, the outsiders were given a cricketing lesson by Test nations Sri Lanka and the West Indies powered to easy wins.
The West Indies rattled up 319 against Papua New Guinea, the highest total in this edition so far, with Steven Jacobs smashing 101 off 86 balls with the help of 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Darren Bravo, younger brother of West Indian star Dwayne, hit 59 while Keiran Powell, who has played Twenty20 cricket at the senior level, plundered 60 off 35 balls at the top of the order.
Papua New Guinea, who qualified as the East-Asia Pacific champions, managed only 143 in reply to lose by 176 runs and suffer their second consecutive defeat in Group B.
The West Indies, who previously lost to South Africa, need a win over India on Friday to force a three-way tie from the group.
Sri Lanka meanwhile recorded emphatic wins to qualify for the knock-out rounds from their respective groups.
Sri Lanka brushed aside Namibia by 163 runs in a Group C match in Penang for their second successive win.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Roshen Silva cracked half-centuries as Sri Lanka piled up 247-7 and restricted Namibia to 84 with Sachith Pathirana claiming four wickets and seamer Denuwan Fernando three.
The Sri Lankans face
fellow qualifiers Australia on Friday to determine the group leaders.