The Liebke Ratings: Bangladesh vs Australia second Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

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    After a tight loss in the first Test, Australia went into the second Test against Bangladesh hopeful that they could hold their own against the powerhouse home side.

    And, in a fairytale ripe for Hollywood exploitation, the plucky underdog visitors managed to scrape together a famous victory by seven wickets.

    Here are the ratings for the Second Test between Bangladesh and Australia.

    Team changes
    Grade: D

    Australia made two changes to their team. Steve O’Keefe, suspended from his New South Wales state team, came into the Australian side in place of the injured Josh Hazlewood. This was presumably an attempt to prove once and for all to other states that the New South Wales and Australia team are, in fact, different entities. Needless to say, nobody bought it.

    Usman Khawaja also made way for Hilton Cartwright, whose lack of bowling and batting in this Test gave rise to the theory that he was Matt Renshaw’s imaginary friend. It would certainly explain why Cricket Australia have Cartwright’s nickname listed as ‘Hobbes’.

    LBW b Lyon
    Grade: B-

    Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat. Pat Cummins, as the lone remaining fast bowler, took the new ball. At the other end, it was Pat Cummins with a fake goatee. Or ‘Cat Pummins’, as he was cunningly listed on the team sheet.

    Alas for Australia, the eagle-eyed Bangladesh team saw through this ploy, forcing Steve Smith to instead throw the ball to Nathan Lyon to open the bowling. Lyon immediately took the first four wickets LBW, establishing himself as perhaps Australia’s greatest ever new ball bowler.

    Glenn Maxwell got into the spirit of Lyon’s attempt to take all ten wickets LBW, dropping a slips catch from the bowling of Cummins to ensure the off-spinner had the best possible chance.

    Sadly, Ashton Agar and Matthew Wade weren’t as generous, combining to dismiss Shakib al Hasan. As if sensing the turmoil within the Australian camp from Agar and Wade’s shameful selfishness, the Bangladesh lower order struck, recovering from 5/117 to 305 all out early on the second day.

    nathan-lyon-cricket-australia-2017

    AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

    Heat
    Grade: C+

    On a good batting pitch, Australia’s plan was to rack up a massive total so they would only have to bat once. In contrast, Bangladesh plan’s revolved around 1) waiting for Australia to collapse and then 2) winning the Test.

    Both solid plans, and both met with some degree of success. Australia’s planned massive total looked a sure thing when the excitable, blunt and helmeted David Warner partnered with Peter Handscomb, whose Tinder profile reads the exact opposite: ‘Bored. PC. Men’s hat.’

    Although presumably Handscomb only has that profile because it’s an anagram of his name.

    Sadly for millinery fans and potential online dates, the wordplay-loving middle order batsman’s insistence on wearing his giant white floppy hat while batting didn’t help him deal with the intense Chittagong heat and humidity. Should he instead have batted in a Viking helmet made of ice? In retrospect, the answer seems obvious.

    By the time the second day was over, Handscomb had lost over 8kg while batting and, according to close friends, now looks better than ever with a hot new summer body! Could the Handscomb Chittagong Diet with its unique scientific combination of heat stroke and vomiting help you shed unsightly excess kilos?

    Self-umpiring
    Grade: B

    After the first half of Day 3 was rained out, Bangladesh’s plan to wait for Australia’s inevitable collapse went into action. First, Handscomb ran himself out trying to get Warner his century. And then Warner mishit himself out trying to get Maxwell a chance to bat with Wade.

    Together again, Maxwell and Wade unleashed their now-classic comedy bit where Wade is given out LBW and then between the two of them, they immediately make the wrong decision about whether or not to use the DRS.

    It’s a strong comedic routine, but Bangladesh batsman Nasir Hossain had an even better one when he stood by umpire Nigel Llong and helped give Pat Cummins out on review.

    Funny stuff from Hossain. But also pretty disrespectful when you think about it. When will Bangladesh players learn that the proper way to celebrate a wicket is to tell the batsman to “f*** off, d***head.”

    Glenn Maxwell
    Grade: A

    Australia were finally all out early on Day 4 for 377, a lead of 72. With the prospect of further rain on the fifth day, Bangladesh had an opportunity to bat out the day and secure a series-winning draw.

    Instead, Lyon followed up his seven-wicket haul in the first innings with a six-wicket one in the second, including a pair of sharp stumpings from Wade, who seems to be much better at dismissing batsmen when they don’t do distracting things like hitting the ball.

    Bangladesh were eventually all out shortly after tea for 157, setting Australia 86 to win. Or 85 to tie. The quick loss of Warner, Smith and Renshaw saw the visitors in some strife at 3-48.

    Or, as it turned out, no strife at all. Because Maxwell walked to the crease and hit a six to get off the mark. Then 30-odd runs and balls later, he hit another six to win the game.

    After batting at five and winning a Test for his country here, I fully expect Maxwell to continue inching his way up the batting order. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise if he batted before the openers at some point during the Ashes.

    Bring it on.

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