Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Bangladeshi captain says team ready to shoot down England


Bangladesh cricket captain Khaled Mahmud said yesterday he was expecting an inspired effort from his team during their upcoming Test series against England.

"We have never started a home series in such a confident mood," said Mahmud. "We have often done better in away series and hope to apply ourselves better this time."

Bangladesh have lost 23 of their 24 Tests but twice took the first innings lead in a recent three-Test series in Pakistan, coming within one wicket of winning the third match at Multan, eventually losing 3-0.

The opening Test of the first-ever series between England and Bangladesh will be played at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here from today and the second match will be held at Chittagong from Oct. 29.

Mahmud hoped his team would do well in familiar conditions.

"The wicket seems to be a batting turf and we hope our batsmen do a fine job. The spinners also might get some help so we should be putting up a good show," Mahmud said.

England captain Michael Vaughan too was confident ahead of the series but warned that his players had to put in their best.

"We are definitely hoping for a win but know that we have to work hard for it," said Vaughan, who took over as Test captain from Nasser Hussain during their last series against South Africa.

"We have worked hard preparing for this tour. Our physical fitness has improved and we are ready for the humid conditions," said Vaughan, who has a Test captainship record of two wins and as many losses in four Tests.

Vaughan said his team was missing the services of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who along with seamer James Anderson, had to pull out because of injury.

"Flintoff lends balance to the team. We could have easily played two seamers and two spinners if Flintoff had been around. But now we have to decide whether to play two spinners or just one."

There was no injury worry for the visiting team except for batsman Mark Butcher, who has caught a throat infection. Paul Collingwood was likely to play in case the left-hander was not fit.

Vaughan said they were out to do their best against Bangladesh, who have been promising a lot since Australian coach Dav Whatmore took over earlier this year.

"We are mentally prepared to bat and bowl for long periods as the pitch is likely to be flat," Vaughan said.

Whatmore looked forward to the first home series with him as coach, but said that playing at home did not matter all that much.

"It does not matter whether we are playing at home or away. What is important is that we continue to develop our cricket," said Whatmore, who was the coach of the Sri Lankan team that triumphed in the 1996 World Cup.

"It will be good playing in front of the home crowd and I hope to see some good individual efforts that help the team cause," said the former Australian batsman.

Meanwhile, Venkatsai Laxman slammed an unbeaten 67 to help India survive a Daryl Tuffey scare in the second and final cricket Test against New Zealand which ended in a draw in Mohali, India.

The solid middle-order batsman followed his first-innings 104 not out with an unbeaten half-century under pressure as India reached 136-4 in their second innings at stumps on the fifth and final day after conceding a lead of 206.

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