Bangladesh 355-5 Australia: Nafees embarrasses Aussies

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The Independent Online

The young batsman Shahriar Nafees was the star of the show as Bangladesh made a superb start to the first Test against Australia here yesterday. Nafees scored 138, his maiden first-class century, to provide the backbone of Bangladesh's innings as they reached a commanding position after winning the toss and opting to bat at the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium.

Stuart MacGill was the pick of the Australian bowlers with three wickets, including that of Nafees, while the recalled fast bowler Jason Gillespie took the two other wickets.

MacGill's fellow leg-spinner, Shane Warne, the record-holder for most wickets in Test history, endured a disappointing day and finished wicketless, conceding 112 runs off 20 overs. He left the field clutching his shoulder and looking in some pain.

Bangladesh's openers, Javed Omar and Nafees, put on a rapid 51-run partnership before the former fell for 27, trapped lbw by Gillespie. That might have been the catalyst for a collapse, but Nafees and Habibul Bashar took the attack to the Australians with a brilliant stand of 187.

Bashar had reached 76 when he succumbed to the last ball before tea, mistiming a short delivery from MacGill to Brett Lee at mid-on. That left Bangladesh on 238 for 2 and they lost three wickets in the evening.

Nafees was the first to depart when he tried to sweep a ball from MacGill but missed it completely and was bowled around his legs. The 20-year-old had faced 189 balls and scored 19 fours.

"Playing against Australia is always encouraging and that encouragement helped me make my maiden Test century," he said.

His wicket went with the score on 265 and 30 runs later Bangladesh lost their fourth when Mohammad Ashraful was trapped lbw by Gillespie for 29. They added another 60 runs before the close of play for the loss of Aftab Ahmed, who was dismissed just before the close for 29 having pulled a short ball from MacGill straight to Matthew Hayden at mid-wicket.

The total was a record for Bangladesh in one day of Test cricket. "Bangladesh played exceptionally well," said Australia's coach, John Buchanan. Bangladesh's captain, Bashar, said: "We must survive until tea on Monday, if we want to prove our worth."

Bangladesh have won only one of 42 Tests but embarrassed Australia last year when they beat them by five wickets in a one-day international in Cardiff.