There was not much to smile about for Australia at the end of the second day of the first Test against Bangladesh.
They had fallen 43 runs short of Bangladesh’s first innings total of 260, and then the home side swelled that advantage to 88 before stumps were drawn for the day.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was one of the few who could sport a smile at the end of the day, as his unbeaten 41 was instrumental in reducing Bangladesh’s advantage.
He was then part of the other event of the day that reduced Bangladesh’s advantage – Soumya Sarkar’s wicket at the fag end of the day, the only wicket Bangladesh lost.
It was while speaking of the latter that the cheerful young Agar’s smile was brightest. With two overs left to go for Bangladesh to retire to the team hotel with the maximum advantage of having 10 wickets in hand, Soumya danced down the track and seemed eager not only to hit the ball for a six over long on, but to ensure that it reached the busy Mirpur 10 junction.
The ball did go far, about eight storeys straight up in the sky, and landed in the juggling hands of a nervous, backpedalling Usman Khawaja at mid on, who unlike Soumya managed to calm down and take the ball on the third attempt.
“I was a bit surprised. I understood why he played it, because the man was up a bit and he wanted to take it downtown,” said Agar with a glint in his eye. “But at that stage of the game, with the wicket doing what it was doing, it was a bit of a risky shot. And fortunately for me it really paid off and I’m glad he made that mistake.”
Agar said the last bit with a chuckle, indicating just how much succour Soumya’s unnecessary adventurism had given the Aussies at the end of a tough day in the office.