The Liebke Ratings: Bangladesh vs Australia first Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

By Dan Liebke, Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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11 Have your say

    When Michael Jackson told Quincy Jones that he wanted very little orchestral sheet music for the follow-up to his 1979 studio album Off The Wall, the legendary music producer understood straight away.

    “Ah,” he said to the King of Pop. “You want a low-score Thriller.”

    Speaking of which, here are the ratings for the first Test between Bangladesh and Australia.

    Recalled players
    Grade: B+

    Australia had made a few changes since the tour of India. Ashton Agar was back in the team, along with Usman Khawaja. While the return of this pair meant that others, such as Shaun Marsh or Travis Head, missed out, it didn’t mean they were forgotten.

    Indeed, virtually all the Australian bowlers sported a closely shorn head, presumably in tribute to the absent hybrid player Shaun Head.

    Bangladesh also recalled a couple of players to the Test side, most notably Nasir Hossain. Hossain is a very dangerous player, primarily for cricket writers, who must constantly be on the alert to make sure his name isn’t autocorrected to that of long-suffering England captain of the 1990s, Michael Atherton.

    Australia’s attack
    Grade: A

    Bangladesh batted first. With Mitchell Starc absent, Pat Cummins had a chance to fill his specialist role of The Bowler Who Takes A Wicket In His First Over. He did so, and then some, reducing Bangladesh to 3-10.

    So fiery was his opening spell that Bangladesh eventually manoeuvred themselves to be all out for 260 before Cummins could take another new ball. Wily stuff from the Tigers.

    Nathan Lyon also took three wickets in the first innings, in the process moving past Richie Benaud on Australia’s all-time Test wicket-taking list and therefore securing himself the right to host Channel Nine’s coverage of the Ashes this summer.

    Agar, as always, attacked at an acute and adorable angle, apeing Ashton’s Australian associates’ accuracy. And as another Agar appeal achieved acceptability after an additional assessment, almost all Australia’s attack appeared alike.

    Which is to say, Agar took three wickets too, one of them on review.

    Glenn Maxwell, needless to say, also had a bowl. He immediately broke the Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan partnership of 146 and then disappeared in a puff of smoke.

    Grade: D

    Australia were left with just a few overs to survive before stumps on the first day. In the kind of display we’d all assumed would start the Indian tour earlier this year, they therefore immediately lost three wickets to be 3-18 in reply.

    One of those wickets was Khawaja, who somehow contrived to run himself out trying to take a quick single after not playing a shot.

    A sensible partnership of 69 between Pete Handscomb and Matt Renshaw after captain Steve Smith was bowled early the second morning saw Australia to 5-102. But Bangladesh, led by world number one all-rounder Shakib al Hasan, continued to take steady wickets.

    As always, the prospect of Maxwell and Matthew Wade being asked to combine to save Australia had fans abuzz, especially when Maxwell deliciously failed to advise Wade to review an LBW decision that was missing leg stump. But when Maxwell was also dismissed, forgetting to hit the ball after advancing down the pitch, Australia were 8-144, still 116 runs behind.

    The Test was now perfectly poised for an Agar 98.

    Australia's Ashton Agar celebrates his half century during the second day's play of the first cricket Test match of the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia at Trent Bridge. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES


    Nathan Lyon’s fingers
    Grade: B-

    Alas, Agar didn’t quite make 98 this time, but his score of 41 not out, in partnership with Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, took Australia to 217 all out and left them with a chance in the match.

    Just a slim chance though, especially when Hazlewood left the field injured. Where were you, kids, when Pat Cummins was the last Australian fast bowler standing?

    But even as Bangladesh inched towards the 250-plus score that would be virtually unchaseable, Australia continued to take wickets that kept them in the game. These wickets came not just from the finger-spin of Lyon, who took six wickets, but also the finger-run-out of Lyon, which took one wicket, when he touched a straight drive onto the stumps to run out the backing up Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim.

    Khawaja bowled an over. Wade had more byes than the lyrics to ‘American Pie’. Maxwell called for a successful review after hearing an edge that the very latest technology could only barely detect. And when the dust settled, Australia needed 265 to win.

    More collapses
    Grade: F

    Earlier in the Test, a television graphic showed that Australia had averaged just 26.69 runs per wicket in Asia over the last decade, the worst among all Test-playing nations. But as they now needed just 265 to win, this same stat now made the visitors firm favourites.

    Certainly, Warner’s century – a foolhardy knock full of the kind of aggression that would have had him vilified if he’d been dismissed cheaply – justified the favouritism. But when his dismissal triggered a collapse from 2-158 to 7-195, Bangladesh were suddenly on the brink of victory.

    The night before, the Windies had given hope to underdog chasing teams in overseas Test matches, as they ran down 322 against England for a famous win.

    But their refusal to actually give Australia Hope, in the form of that Test’s double centurion Shai Hope, ultimately proved pivotal. Because three more wickets after lunch on the fourth day and another five-wicket haul to Shakib al Hasan saw Bangladesh go 1-0 up in the series.

    Maybe Bangladesh should play the West Indies for the Ashes?

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • August 31st 2017 @ 7:25am
      DanMan said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      Great stuff as usual Dan

    • August 31st 2017 @ 7:35am
      Dom said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Top stuff. Not from Australia of course, but by Dan and the Bangas.

      Strangely I think I’m more happy to see Bangladesh doing well at test cricket than I am sad at seeing Australia lose a test. That’s the benefit of away series I guess – we can kind of pretend they didn’t happen and just focus on the Ashes in a couple of months.

    • August 31st 2017 @ 10:19am
      BurgyGreen said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      This is great but it’s also painful to read because we just lost to Bangladesh for the first time. I know they’re a vastly improved side at home but still.

      England losing to the Windies at home takes the edge off a bit.

    • August 31st 2017 @ 12:15pm
      Pope Paul VII said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

      more byes than American Pie………that’s tops Danny Boy.

    • Roar Pro

      August 31st 2017 @ 4:53pm
      Andrew Young said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

      This is brilliant. Thank you.

    • August 31st 2017 @ 5:38pm
      peter chrisp said | August 31st 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

      Perfect summary of the whole game & kudos for The Bangas victory was there ever any doubt?

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