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History As Bangladesh Beats Australia By 20 Runs In First Test In Dhaka

The hosts were too good and deserved their win.


They did it. Bangladesh has beaten Australia by 20 runs in the first Test at Dhaka.

It is Bangladesh's first win over Australia in five encounters, and just its tenth win in 101 Tests. Previously Bangladesh have only beaten Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England.

This will be celebrated as the greatest ever cricket triumph in the world's eighth most populous nation, which was admitted to the Test arena in the year 2000. And nobody was happier than Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was on hand to witness cricketing history.

Much of the credit for this triumph must go to allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, the 30-year-old who is regarded as his nation's finest ever cricketer. Shakib made 84 runs in the first innings, and took five wicket hauls in each of Australia's innings with his left-arm spin. He was the obvious winner of the man-of-the-match award.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Warner notched his 19th Test century in just 64 Tests -- and potentially one of his most important -- as Australia looked like they might be heading for a tough victory.

Alas, shortly after reaching the milestone, the Australian vice-captain was out LBW to Shakib Al Hasan for 112. Captain Steve Smith followed just four overs later for 37, and Australia's chase was officially in trouble. So was Australia's record of never having lost a Test to the hosts.

Australia was set 265 for victory late on Tuesday, and started poorly with the loss of Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja for single-figure scores. But Warner, and to a lesser extent captain Steve Smith, set Australia on track to victory well into Wednesday morning.

Warner had scored 70 percent of his side's runs when he reached his century. Not that the left-handed opener had been especially cavalier. Controlled aggression is the best description of an innings which emphasised just how the 31-year old has matured as a cricketer.

It was also a rare century in the fourth innings in a Test in Asia, as this shows:

Australia required 106 when Warner departed. They still needed 95 when Smith was out. Peter Handscomb followed soon afterwards for 15 with 78 runs still required. Matthew Wade was next to go, also trapped LBW.

When Ashton Agar went for just 2 -- unable to repeat his first innings heroics when he made 41 not out -- you sensed the task was becoming impossible for Australia on a tricky turning wicket. When Glenn Maxwell fell first ball after lunch to -- who else? -- Hasan, it was effectively over.

Some late hitting from Pat Cummins, including two monstrous sixes in a over, offered some hope.

But Australia fell just short.

"It was a great Test match, credit to Bangladesh the way they played," Steve Smith said at the presentation ceremony after the game.

"We probably let ourselves down a bit in the first innings with the bat. We needed to get a lead and get in front of the game a little bit, but we weren't able to do that."

Meanwhile Bangladeshi captain Mushfiqur Rahim described the win as a "great effort by the boys". It sounded like something an Australian would say, and to be fair, his players played the ways the Aussies would have liked to play too.

The captains before this match. Who could have predicted the result?
The captains before this match. Who could have predicted the result?

So what now? Well, there's the second Test in Chittagong starting on September 4. But even if Australia wins that, there will be worries.

The second innings in Dhaka was a golden opportunity for Australia's middle and lower order men to prove their worth in a high pressure situation -- and to generate the self-confidence that they're capable of resistance against England.

For much of Wednesday after the big guns Warner and Smith fell, an escape looked possible. But as wickets fell, it looked less and less likely. Our middle order is officially a questionable commodity. And former England captain Michael Vaughan, for one, was loving it.

The only bright note for Australia is that England lost to the West Indies at home overnight. So perhaps the Poms shouldn't crow too loudly either.

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