Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What price Australia?

It was supposed to be a waste of time. Bangladesh barely deserved to be in the inner circle of Test cricket. Australia were going to wipe the floor with them, make a point, and head on home. Sure, Ricky Ponting went back on his derisory comments - but what else was he to do in a press conference in the heart of Dhaka?

Now Bangladesh lead by a little under 300, with 5 second innings wickets in hand. The cricket world ostensibly has something to cheer about, with the underdog about to walk off with the most prized scalp of all.

But are they? The last time I remember things getting to this point, Bangladesh had taken a 100 run first-innings lead against Pakistan, set them 260 to win, and reduced them to 99-5, and 200-8. Inzamam-ul-Haq then resurrected his own career, and the near-win has been long forgotten.

After two days, many pundits had written off Australia's chances, quite foolishly. Adam Gilchrist has brought them right back in the game, and I wouldn't bet a lot of money against Ponting, Gilchrist and co. pulling off the win. They'll be thinking they can keep the lead down to 325, and chase it before tea on the 5th day. The romantic in me doesn't want to see that happen, but you've got to consider the harsh realities.

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