Australia survive Bangladesh scare
Australia had to digest a minor reminder of Cardiff 2005 before recovering to record a 38-run World Twenty20 warm-up victory over Bangladesh.
Mahmudullah’s haul of 4-37, and Shakib al Hasan’s rapid 54 forced Australia to dig deep to avoid a repeat of the shock NatWest Series defeat against the same opponents, which preceded their Ashes disappointment four years ago.
In the end, though, Shane Watson, who made 52, and Mitchell Johnson, who claimed 3-21, did enough to put Bangladesh in their place at Trent Bridge.
Australia’s problems began when 23-year-old off-spinner Mahmudullah was called upon with the score 99 for none after only eight overs - and proceeded to see off the top four batsmen.
Brad Haddin, badly dropped by Tamim Iqbal at mid-on off Mashrafe Mortaza when he had made only four, had set the initial pace after Australia chose to bat first on a glorious afternoon.
He hit Syed Rasel for the first six of the innings, and then planted a second maximum over long-on into the stand at the Radcliffe Road end in the same over.
It was to be Rubel Hussain who suffered most, though, among the Bangladesh bowlers, the first of his three overs costing 22 runs.
Haddin’s opening partner Watson inflicted much of the damage, on his way to 50 off only 21 balls - with six fours and three sixes.
But Mahmudullah rudely interrupted a sparse crowd’s enjoyment of the stream of boundaries by having both openers caught in the deep on the leg side from two of his first three deliveries.
Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, therefore, were charged with leading the recovery operation. Mahmudullah accounted for both - Symonds caught at short third man and Ponting behind - but Australia still had power to add and a 52-run stand between Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey helped them to a daunting 219 for six.
Bangladesh’s reply got off to a flying start when Tamim hit 18 off Nathan Bracken’s first over and Zunaid Siddique set about Brett Lee too.
Johnson appeared to restore order by bowling Siddique. Then, after Tamim holed out off Lee and Johnson returned to have Mohammad Ashraful chopping on, Bangladesh were up against it.
But Shakib kept blazing away, to a 25-ball fifty, which contained six fours and two sixes - and it was only after he mistimed a catch straight to Ponting in the ring off Lee that Australia could relax.
“As a batting group, we are very happy,” Watson said. “As a bowling group, we were a little out, but that will come with practice.
“That is what practice games are for, so that when the real stuff comes you can make sure you’re absolutely on your game.”
“The Bangladesh guys batted extremely well. But Mitchell Johnson bowled very well, as he has been doing - and it’s good to see Brett changing up as well.”
Ashraful said: “We didn’t bowl well to start with, but we came back well. With the bat, we just said ‘believe in yourself and play’ - and we did that.”