Ricky Ponting’s worst nightmares are being played out before his very eyes in Fatullah, Bangladesh. The irony and humour are inescapable. It was some months ago that Ponting boldly declared that Bangladesh did not warrant Test status. He hinted that he resented taking time and energy to play them. It must be said that just before the match Ponting did hose down that interviews. I believe that he even went as far as applying the word “wrong” to himself. It reminded me of the Happy Days episode when Fonzie tried to say he was “wr-wr-wrong”. Never mind.
Statements can be retracted but they can’t be “unsaid”. I’m sure Dav Whatmore’s boys would take indescribable pleasure in making the Australian captain eat his words. Oh Ricky, life is a learning curve.
At 5-79, part way through the final session of Day two. Australia seems to be on a slide that they cannot halt. Bangladesh scored 427 in its first innings. Their second highest test total, beaten only by 488 they scored against Zimbabwe. And they truly did not deserve Test status at that time. In fact, it was suspended shortly after. The second wicket partnership of 187 is a new Bangladesh all wicket record. Yesterday is the first time that Bangladesh has scored more than 300 runs in a day. Shane Warne went for almost 6 an over from his 20 overs and not a sniff of a wicket. It was his worst treatment since Ravi Shastri hit 200 (almost all from Warne) at the MCG almost 15 years ago. Aside from the time Laxman hit 280. And Lara hit 277. And Tendulkar…. But you might what I mean.
It was left to MacGill (8/108) and Gillespie, both unwanted for all or most of the summer, to take all of the wickets.
Australia is in serious danger of complete embarrassment. I don’t mean just losing to Bangladesh but being humiliated. All five wickets have been lbw or bowled and the two I saw (Ponting and Martyn), the ball shot through very low. It’s shades of the Ashes. I recall during the second and third Tests after England had swatted a quick three or four hundred, everyone said “Oh the pitch is a landing strip. Australia will make 600.” Of course it did not prove correct, the “runs on the board” rule held true, and such sentiments were abandoned for the final tests.
With Australia’s fate in the hands Gilchrist, Warne, Lee and Gillespie and co, it will be interesting to see what happens. With three whole days to play, the chance of Bangladesh winning it’s first real Test (their only win thus far was against Zimbabwe) is very real.