Daniel Christian, who blasted a 15-ball 39 in Australia’s three-wicket win in the fourth T20I against Bangladesh on Saturday, stated that he hasn’t batted in more difficult conditions in his career yet. The hosts’ 131/7 in the first T20I remains the highest score across eight innings in the series.
Run-scoring has been increasingly difficult throughout the ongoing Bangladesh-Australia T20I series, with pitches largely assisting the slower bowlers. The combined run-rate of 5.93 across the first-four matches is the lowest for any bilateral affair with a minimum of three completed games. Only Mahmudullah and Mitchell Marsh have been able to register a 50-plus score, both coming at just about run-a-ball.
Australia, after going down in each of the first three games of the series, finally managed to cross the line of Saturday, only just, in a tricky run-chase of 105. They were 47/1 in the fifth over, thanks to Daniel Christian’s blitz, which included five sixes off Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over of the innings. However, a dramatic collapse soon reduced them to 65/6, before the lower-middle order got them through.
Christian stated that the conditions were unlike any other he’s seen through his 15-year-long professional career, adding that the players have found it extremely difficult to get into rhythm.
“They don’t compare to anything I’ve faced in my career,” the all-rounder told ESPNcricinfo. “These are as difficult conditions as I’ve seen for T20 cricket – 120 is like 190, it’s an extremely difficult place to try and bat. We’ve seen all the spinners and even the seamers, as soon as they start bowling slower balls it’s really, really hard work. It’s holding in the surface, gripping and turning and it’s a big ground as well. It’s certainly been different cricket but in terms of getting into rhythm or any kind of flow it’s been pretty hard.
“There’s certainly been things we can take out of these games from a batting perspective. You have to be so precise in your plans in these conditions. It probably doesn’t get more difficult than that at any level around the world than facing that kind of bowling here.”
Christian believes the UAE will serve much better surfaces during the upcoming IPL and the subsequent T20 World Cup.
“I don’t think they’ll be anything like it, ” said Christian, who is a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit at the IPL . “Say, somewhere like Sharjah where you get a bit of dew at night time and it’s a small ground, so 220 can be a winning score. Maybe at Dubai or Abu Dhabi they’ll be a bit slower but they are still 170-180 wickets normally…there’s an IPL before the World Cup, so there might be some worn tracks but I think they are pretty used to getting them back up.”
Earlier, it was Mitchell Swepson’s 3/12 from four overs that helped Australia restrict Bangladesh to 104/9 in the first innings. The 27-year-old, who’d replaced the experienced Adam Zampa in the playing XI was pleased with his returns.
“It has been a little stop-start for me but that’s the nature of the format and role that I play, generally coming in towards the end and bowling some overs in the middle,” he said. “I’ve loved being back in the team, representing my country again, it’s been awesome, and from a cricket perspective I’ve just got to keep training well and preparing as well as I can. When that opportunity arrives hopefully I can grab it.
“It can be difficult to gauge sometimes where you are at when you are just bowling in the nets, so last night was a good confirmation of where my bowling is at. I got that one game in St Lucia and it didn’t quite pan out how I wanted it to so last night was that reassurance that the ball is still coming out well.”
The fifth and final T20I will be played on Sunday, August 9.