DHAKA: The series began as you’d expect, with Bangladesh putting up some fight but ultimately being overpowered by Australia. The hosts need to win the second game on Monday (today) to keep the series alive, and to achieve that, they’ll need a stronger top-order performance. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan both made half-centuries, but there wasn’t much support for them, and it meant Australia’s 270 was a pretty safe target. In the field, Bangladesh were better, but although they kept things tight through the middle overs, they let Australia get away in the end, and that is something they will need to address.
For the Australians, Michael Clarke’s captaincy reign began well, both personally and professionally, with a century and a victory to his name. Ricky Ponting looked noticeably unburdened having given up the captaincy and he looms as a danger man for the next two games. However, they do need runs from the out-of-form Cameron White and they’d appreciate more application from the opener Brad Haddin, who was bowled on Saturday while walking and wafting simultaneously. Bangladesh’s decision to send Australia in after winning the toss in the first game didn’t exactly pan out, so expect whoever calls correctly to bat first on Monday.
Clarke will have noticed on Saturday how Tamim Iqbal handled the new ball with ease, and only started to go into his shell after wickets fell at the other end. But if Tamim gets going at the top of the order, Australia could find themselves with a hefty chase, or a difficult task to defend a total. And if Bangladesh are to level the series on Monday, they need a strong performance from Tamim. During the World Cup, John Hastings sat on the sidelines, carried drinks, bowled in the nets – and that’s about it. But now, thanks in part to the ODI retirement of Shaun Tait, he has a chance to establish himself as a full-time member of Australia’s one-day side. The allrounder of choice with the selectors since they cooled on James Hopes, Hastings is an accurate seamer with a good change of pace, and on the slow pitch at the Shere Bangla, he won’t be easy for Bangladesh’s batsmen to get away.
James Pattinson is still hoping to make his ODI debut, although that is more likely in the third match if Australia have already wrapped up the series by then. However, Cameron White’s poor form is a concern and after Saturday’s win, Clarke didn’t exactly promise that White would retain his place. Callum Ferguson and Tim Paine are in the squad, and Ferguson would be the most logical candidate to replace White if he is dropped. Apart from Tamim and Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s batting line-up struggled on Saturday, and they have other batting options, including Alok Kapali and the uncapped Shuvagoto Hom.
Australia (possible): Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, Brett Lee, Xavier Doherty
Bangladesh (possible): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mahmudullah, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak.