The coronavirus pandemic has stalled most of the public activities around the world and almost all the countries in the world have stopped all sorts of sporting activities for the indefinite time as the virus is encroaching more and more countries aggravating the number of casualty. Bangladesh is not an exception as the country has shut down all sporting activities and for the sports lover nothing can be more frustrating as they are quarantined at home without any live sports or even the news. Hence, Dhaka Tribune Sports has decided to cheer up its readers by recalling some of the fondest memories of country's sporting chronicles. Our wish is to keep our readers mentally strong in the tough time of corona.
Today DT sports is remembering the innings of Mohammad Ashraful’s match winning century which helped to defeat Australia at Cardiff back in 2005.
Later a little cameo from Aftab Ahmed, 21 off 13, and Mohammad Rafique 9 off 7, ensured Bangladesh a famous win over the mighty Australia. Sophia Gardens Cricket Stadium in Cardiff, Wales has been registered as a golden venue in cricketing folklore of Bangladesh as two of their most famous wins, against Australia in 2005 and against New Zealand at the Champions Trophy in 2017, were recorded here.
If anyone remembers that famous win against Australia, one name must pop up in mind - Mohammad Ashraful.
Ashraful’s stunning century, 100 of 101 deliveries, helped Bangladesh stun the mighty Aussies 15 years ago.
Ashraful was duly adjudged man-of-the-match for his magnificent hundred in that match.
That ODI is surely one of the best wins in Bangladesh’s history along with the famous win against Pakistan at the 1999 World Cup.
Australia opted to bat first on that day, on June 18, 2005 and like many of the famous and important wins for Bangladesh, the Tigers started with a bang with the charge of Mashrafe bin Mortaza.
Mashrafe took the wicket of the dangerous Adam Gilchrist in just second ball of the game to lift the Tigers’ spirit.
Bangladesh’s bowling opening pair of Mashrafe and Tapash Baisya kept the pressure on Australia’s other opener Matthew Hayden and No 3 batsman Ricky Ponting as, at one stage, Australia were 9/1 after five overs.
And then Tapash made the breakthrough with a brilliant in-swinging delivery as Ponting was trapped in front scoring just one off 16 deliveries.
Eventually, Australia put up a fighting total riding on their middle-order batsmen, posting 249 in their stipulated 50 overs.
It was certainly a very good total to defend at Sophia Gardens, especially when you have Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brad Hogg and Michael Kasprowicz in your bowling unit.
In reply, Bangladesh were in all sorts of trouble as, at one stage, the Tigers were 72/3 in 21 overs and the top three batsmen Nafees Iqbal (eight), Javed Omar (19) and Tushar Imran (24) went back to the pavilion scoring not that many runs.
But from that stage, Ashraful rose to the occasion and built a 130-run partnership with skipper Habibul Bashar.
Bashar played a valuable 47-run innings before being run out but Ashraful, who was dominating the Aussie bowlers and played stunning shots all around the park, kept the Tigers on track.
“I always remember that innings. That innings is and will always be special for me. I have come to this ground after 14 years. Many things have changed at this ground in the last 14 years. The dressing room was probably in a different place back then and I can remember Aftab (Ahmed) smashed the six against Gillespie in that direction (pointing to his left). Definitely, a lot of memories at this ground for me and I feel happy to be back here as a spectator,” said Ashraful to Dhaka Tribune while watching the Bangladesh versus England game as a spectator from the gallery at Sophia Gardens during the World Cup 2019.
Remembering the innings, Ashraful became nostalgic and was delighted to share his feelings about that match to this reporter.
Ashraful’s majestic innings was composed with 11 boundaries and all of them were brilliant to watch as a fan.
While revisiting the memories of his innings, when this reporter asked about any particular moment or shot, he picked two of his shots as favorites - a scoop against Michael Hussey which went for a boundary and a four against Michael Clarke that he played over extra cover.
Later a little cameo from Aftab Ahmed, 21 off 13, and Mohammad Rafique 9 off 7, ensured Bangladesh a famous win over the mighty Australia.