1st ODI: Australia vs Bangladesh --->> SCORECARD
Result: Australia won by 60 runs
Michael Clarke's first official ODI as Captain was a successful one.
Not only was it a victory, but he has also returned a reply to many of the critics by posting a century during the 1st ODI against Bangladesh.
He brought it up with a six and this was followed on from some decent performances by him during the World Cup. Michael had been criticised for a slow scoring rate and more often than not adding pressure on his batting partner.
This was predominantly an aspect of his Twenty20 cricket, but with that aside and his test struggles an aspect of his game only needing rememdy down the line, the way he has imposed himself against his opponents with his limited overs batting has been splendid to witness.
I am also one of those guilty for not showing him the ultimate support that should have been there during the summer, but he really did a brilliant job out there and returned the goods with a century.
It is actually a relief to see Ricky Ponting playing as purely a batsman and that the Captaincy duties rest with another player, one who seems far more ambitious to take on the leadership role. While Michael scored a century in his first official ODI as Skipper, Punter looked solid during his first official ODI not in the Skipper's role. It was unfortunately cut short with another run out to add to his career stats. But I have a brilliant feeling that Punter will be able to focus on his specialty better than ever and remain an invaluable member of Australian cricket until he call it a day.
Having read Michael's statements in the media and his general outlook, I have a gut feeling this bloke may well be developing an attitude and backbone that we need to pull our cricket in general out of a pit. The Captain can make it happen and with fresh ideas and charisma around, it may spark that change needed. This is obviously no disrespect to Punter - and also too soon to get speculating - but he just had too much on his plate and had carried the Captaincy burden for too long.
Shane Watson and Brad Haddin opened the batting - a partnership I hope to see for a while - with Watto getting some sort of a start after Brad departed early being bowled for just 10, a bloody aweful shot Hads!
Things slipped a bit after Watto and Punter departed after decent contributions but Michael steered the ship back on track.
He steadied his innings nicely and the way he built his innings was well adjusted to the tempo of the match and more importantly what the team required.
He used his feet graciously as he usually does against spin bowling and it was an innings that would have stamped some kind of authority on his part. Yes, it may be Bangladesh but he still had to go out there and do the work.
Mitchell Johnson backed Pup well towards the end as Mitch delivered a Michael Hussey-like late innings assault to score 26 unbeaten runs from 13 deliveries, featuring 2 fours and 2 sixes. It was an enjoyable cameo role that Mitch played and ending it with a six whacked away to the midwicket boundary was worthy a shout or two.
Cameron White remains a bit of a worry. I'm in two minds about it. The first being I don't think Steven Smith should be in the starting XI. Not sure why he is the golden boy to get these preferences but he's generally there.
Either Callum Ferguson or Tim Paine deserve a chance to have a bat. They sat around at the World Cup and did nothing and now against Bangladesh will they also continue being water-boys?
Both of them have a PROVEN ability to perform for the Green & Gold, both are flexible in the batting order and are key future prospects for us.
Cam White also has a reputation and a recognised ability in limited overs cricket. I do see Michael's reasoning to bowl Bear for a few overs as an effort to boost his confidence with his involvement in the side given his batting has been bleak.
Between Bear and Stevo, I think their IPL stints will allow them a chance for a hit out but it will be tough to see who can turn things around this series.
I hope Bear does return to some kind of form soon.
The bowling was alright. It would have been great to have seen 10 wickets claimed, but the victory margin was good enough and the expected Bangladesh batsmen were the blokes to put the runs on the board.
Brett Lee started things off as the maestro he is, while Mitchell Johnson picked up an early LBW as well. They complemented each other well, but Mitchell was particularly impressive. A few more wickets would have been ideal but check the economy rate! 2.87, these sorts of wonders happen when he bats well!
John Hastings also picked up a wicket and it's great to see him getting game time, boosted by that hat-trick as well.
Xavier Doherty made a decent impression in his sub-continent appearance. A few more games will be good to see what spin he can generate on these tracks and what variances he can bring to the spin bowling department.
Bangladesh have a decent side. Their issue is their development is poor given how long they have been involved in International cricket. A big issue is they have no "Stickability". Players come and go and form is temporary. Their players who have some kind of ability to generate class for longevity always end up ruining it and the team takes a step back with these players in and out.
If they can find some way to keep a core group together and not solely rely on one or two players abilities it will really give them a better foundation to build upon. They are well behind where they should be but they have potential and a cricket mad nation to get better. As we saw, the expected blokes batted well. Just a thought.
Both teams have something to gain from this series so I don't see it as a waste.
So that is a 1-0 standing with two games to go. After that, embrace yourself for the Australian cricket drought.
There is IPL cricket, which is kind of worth following as we have a stack of Aussie cricketers taking part in the IPL 2011. Have a look here to see who is part of the cricket cash festival in India.
Great start for Michael Clarke and some good cricket from our guys. Don't need to be a cricket guru to know there's loads of room for improvement but the result was brought in as a victory and this will put things in perspective going to the 2nd ODI.
Michael Clarke punches the air in celebration for his 6th ODI century.
© Associated Press
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