Saturday, August 16, 2008

We will fight all the way - Ashraful

Mohammad Ashraful lays out the challenges that lie ahead for Bangladesh after arriving in Darwin.

Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, has stressed the need to be competitive after his side arrived in Darwin for their three-match one-day series against Australia.

"We want to show improvement all the way. This is a very challenging tour for us as Australia are a top side," he said. "But we want to be tough and competitive and will fight all the way. We have the ability and hopefully, we can bring our best cricket to this series."

Ashraful said Bangladesh had enough time to prepare for the series, with five warm-up matches in store. "We have come to Australia a little ahead of the series. We will play five practice matches before the ODIs, and that will give us a good idea about the conditions here."

The Marrara Stadium, which has a drop-in pitch, will host all the three matches. Ashraful felt that the experience of having played on the surface before, as well as the favourable weather conditions in Darwin, will be beneficial for his side. "The last time we were here [in 2003], the pitches did not have too much pace or bounce," he said. "And the weather here is almost similar to Bangladesh. I think we'll feel comfortable here."

Bangladesh's coach, Jamie Siddons, was pragmatic on his assessment of the series, saying that his side's goal was to be consistent. "I am sure they [Australia] remember the loss to Bangladesh in 2005 and they will come hard at us," he said. "We are an improving side and the objective remains the same here also. We have shown in the past, that if we get to scores in the region of 250, then we can put pressure on the opposition."

Bangladesh play all their five practice matches at the Gardens Oval, beginning their campaign on August 18, when they take on the Australian Institute of Sports. The first ODI will be played on August 30.