Moments of Glory (2)

Beating Australia was unthinkable

Mohammad Ashraful | Published: 22:49, Apr 30,2020

 
 

A file photo from June 18, 2005 shows Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Ashraful celebrating his century against Australia during their NatWest Series match at Cardiff. — AFP photo

The win against Australia was really special. At that time, beating the Australian side was unthinkable. They were considered invincible. But we beat them and till date that is our solitary victory over Australia in limited overs. I also scored my maiden one-day international hundred in that match.

Before that match in Cardiff, I was going through a bad patch. I thought that if I don’t score against Australia I will be dropped but the words of the then selector Faruk Ahmed gave me some hope.

‘You will play all the games, just score at least one fifty,’ he told me.  In the previous match I was out without scoring any run. So when I went to the middle, my mind was full of anxiety and uncertainty. But after my first few shots, my mind became crystal clear.

We were a bit lucky that Australia chose to bat after winning the toss. The wicket was wet, it was not an easy wicket to bat on. They struggled early in the innings but later scored some quick runs which gave them a total of 250 [249-5].

I was a bit nervous due to my poor run throughout the Test series and the first ODI. I was a bit shaky. But suddenly things started turning around for me as I started hitting the ball very well. Of my first 20 runs, 16 came from boundaries. I was hitting the ball from the sweet spot of the bat, feet movement and timing all were perfect. That gave me a boost in confidence and I felt that I have to utilise the tempo to its fullest.

I just continued playing naturally. I saw that the fine leg was up, tried a scoop and it went for four. I was handling the spinners very well, I picked up a boundary in almost every over. That kept the scoreboard ticking.

I was a bit lucky too. When I got past my half century, I played a lofted shot but Jason Gillespie misjudged the catch due to sunlight. Seeing that, I felt maybe this is a signal that today is going to be my day.

After the win, the British media, who were a bit critical about us due to our poor run in the Test series, praised us highly. They understood our potential, realised that if given time Bangladesh could also become a great cricket team.

Samiur Rahman writes the story

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