Strewth, can it get any worse?

You beauties, Bangladesh - Cricket world turned upside down as the minnows humiliate the Aussies. Now it's England's turn to twist the knife

Bangladesh beat Australia at cricket yesterday. There were those who assumed it would never be possible to write those words, others of more optimistic bent who thought they would have to wait at least 20 years.

To describe it as one of the biggest sporting upsets of all time may be an understatement. Australia are world No 1 by a country mile and Bangladesh are the lowest ranked by a similar margin. At the start, Australia were 500-1 on to win, Bangladesh were a somewhat ungenerous 33-1 with Coral. It was that predictable.

Yet by the time Aftab Ahmed smote Jason Gillespie for six off the first ball of the final over to level the scores in the second match of the NatWest Series it was a sensation but not a shock. So mature and controlled had the Bangladeshi exhibition been that they never seemed in the mood for a hard-luck story. They won with a scrambled single next ball. The margin was five wickets, there were four balls to spare. The Richter scale has not been made that can cope with such affairs.

In the old phrase they were heroes to a man but the one who stood above them was Mohammad Ashraful. He made 100 from 101 balls in a batting exhibition that was at once measured and exhilarating. He is already the youngest Test centurion of all, being the only player to reach three figures before his 17th birthday. This was a display to rank above that.

Two things stood out about Australia in the way they accepted their fate. When Ashraful was out with 23 still wanted, Adam Gilchrist shook his hand as he departed, a remarkable gesture in a tight match. When they had lost, their captain Ricky Ponting was calm but straight talking. "It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game," he said anticipating the public reaction at home. "We have got to be made aware of that and if it doesn't make us lift our game nothing will."

There was a whiff of arrogance in Australia's decision to bat first and of a lack of homework when they belatedly discovered that one-day results favoured the side batting second. Ponting said he did not expect the ball to do as much as it did - they were reduced to 9 for 2 before recovering to make 249 - but he sought no hiding place there either. Bangladesh bowled well, he said. "They controlled the game and when the world champions lose to the lowest ranked team in the world that's got to be worrying. We need to turn things round and we've no time to do it."

Australia did not do too many things wrong - though they dropped Ashraful on 54 - but Bangladesh did more things better. They had won only nine of their previous 107 one-day matches, the biggest until now against India last winter. But nobody was prepared for this. It was a result beyond the imagination. That Australia had omitted the all-rounder Andrew Symonds for disciplinary reasons only added to their concerns.

England's captain Michael Vaughan said he had nothing to say about the event, which presumably meant that he, like everyone else, was rendered speechless.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'