Rain played spoilsport as Australia and Bangladesh had to share points in their fixture on Monday at the Kennington Oval, London.
Here’s what we learned from the match.
AUSTRALIA’S NEW-BALL BOWLERS MEND THIR WAY
Australian captain Steve Smith was furious with his wayward bowling pack against New Zealand. The Kiwis powered to 291 in 45 overs and then had the Aussies on the backfoot at 53-3 in 9.3 overs when rain stopped play.
“I thought it was one of the worst bowling displays that we’ve put on for a long time. It was pretty ordinary,” Smith said after the game.
Stung by the skipper’s outburst, the bowlers came out all guns firing and dished out a much improved display. The comparative figures of the top three pacers from the two games gives a much clearer picture.
Against the Kiwis, the pacers’ analysis read: Mitchell Starc 9-0-52-0, Josh Hazlewood 9-0-52-6, Pat Cummins 9-0-67-1. In contrast, their figures on Monday were: Starc 8.3-2-29-4, Hazlewood 10-0-40-1, Cummins 8-1-22-1.
No wonder Starc was beaming during the break and did not forget his captain’s comments: “Hopefully the skipper is happy with that (performance) or he might get a few short ones.”
Having mended their ways, the Aussie bowling is gaining in strength just in time for the tougher challenges ahead.
STARC’S BACK IN THE HUNT
The last one-day international Starc played before this tournament was four months ago in New Zealand. Understandably, he was rusty and it showed in his first match against New Zealand where he went wicketless.
However, it didn’t take long for the Starc of old to return and knock the stuffing out of Bangladesh’s sails. He struck in the 43rd over by claiming three wickets from four balls just when Bangaldesh were looking to add some quick runs.
He started with a short ball that Tamim Iqbal top edged to long leg for fellow pacer Hazlewood to complete a neat catch diving forward. The next two wickets – came off trademark Starc deliveries, quick and yorker length that crashed into the stumps with the batsmen Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain clueless.
From 181-6, Bangladesh lost the last four wickets for the addition of just one run with Starc claiming all four.
TAMIM IQBAL, THE LONE RANGER
Bangladesh are leaving too much on opener Tamim Iqbal’s plate with the rest providing almost no support at all. At the Oval on Monday, apart from his chanceless 95 off 114 balls, the contribution from the rest of the batting lineup was negligible.
The second highest score was 29 by Shakib Al Hasan with only three batsmen, Iqbal included, attaining double figures.
Against England too, he was the top scorer with 128 runs. In that game, Mushfiqur Rahim (79) was an able foil but the next highest was Soumya Sarkar’s 28.
The poor batting display against the Aussies saw Bangladesh being bowled out for a paltry 182 in 44.3 overs on a surface that was good for batting. Worse, they failed to last out 50 overs which meant when rain intervened for the first time, their innings was over.
It was an ordinary effort from a team that had made the cut for the tournament with some stirring victories against big teams.
ZAMPA STEPS UP
It was the same surface where Imran Tahir took four wickets against Sri Lanka on Saturday, so there was an air of excitement about how Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa would fare in his first Champions Trophy game.
The 25-year-old was introduced very late in the innings, in the 35th over, with an intention to curb the attacking instincts of the Bangladesh batsmen. Although he didn’t have much to do, he was quite effective during his short spell.
He picked up a wicket with his third ball and started off with a wicket maiden before claiming one more to finish with solid figures of 4-1-13-2.
It was a good outing for 2016’s top wicket-taker in ODIs (30 wickets from 19 games) and that sets him up nicely for the game(s) ahead.