Banglades's Mehedi Hasan Miraz, second left, celebrates with his teammates after the dismissal of Australia's David Warner.
Banglades's Mehedi Hasan Miraz, second left, celebrates with his teammates after the dismissal of Australia's David Warner. A.M. Ahad

Bangladesh fights back as Australia collapses

USMAN Khawaja's calamitous run-out in Dhaka proved only one thing - that the recalled No.3 was feeling the pressure.

Sidelined from all cricket since January 22 and facing doubts over his abilities in spin conditions, not even the ultra-cool Khawaja could disguise the heat he was under as he succumbed to an inexplicable Test cricket blunder.

In itself it's difficult to explain how an elite batsman could not offer a shot and then attempt to run a single, when even if he'd made his ground, would have been worth nothing on the scoreboard.

But pressure does funny things to people and yesterday for Khawaja it manifested itself in a brain explosion that has left Australia reeling at 3-18 chasing Bangladesh's first innings 260.

Khawaja is a smart and gifted cricketer who doesn't need to be explained the rules of the game, but his error in judgement was a classic example of how so much of the game is played between the ears.

As Bangladesh tightened the clamps with smart bowling and imposing field positions, Khawaja's first instinct was to get down the other end no matter what.

The left-hander came to the crease having not played a solitary game of cricket - in any format - since January 22.

That's a long time to be contemplating your existence in the nets.

Yesterday's forgettable act of self-sabotage was not proof that Khawaja can't play the turning ball, but rather confirmation that the doubt cast over him has taken a toll and on some level had got inside the 30-year-old's head.

Run out in such bizarre circumstances means the jury remains out on Khawaja's ability to perform in the sub-continent - we'll know more after the second innings - but at least the mode of dismissal appeared to justify Australia's desperation to get Khawaja match practice before the Ashes.

If he's considered a key man to take on England, nothing can be gained from having him watch from the sidelines, even if the series is in Bangladesh.

But none of that changes the fact Khawaja's run-out coupled with Warner's cheap dismissal has left Australia on the precipice as they fight to save themselves from dipping to an almost unheard of No.6 on the ICC world Test rankings.

A momentous upset is on the cards unless Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw can rally on day two.

Nathan Lyon said the Australians were rallying around Khawaja and Warner and were still positive at fighting their way out of jail.

"Everyone has their ups and downs depending on how Mother Cricket looks down on the day," he said.

"We're very close in that changeroom. No doubt we'll get around each other. There's three of us that got out tonight.

"There's a long way to go in this Test match and Test series. There's a lot of belief in that changeroom. I'm very proud and very honoured to be in that changeroom and I'm feeling very good about it."

Lyon was emotional when describing how much it meat to him to surpass Richie Benaud's mark of 248 wickets and join the exclusive 250 club which olds just eight Australians.

"I've always said that I'm not about personal success but I woke up to a message from my mum and dad. They said go out and do us proud," Lyon said.

"You get those type of messages and you reflect on your career and where you stand in the game - it's pretty special. Richie Benaud was an unbelievable legend of Australian cricket and cricket in general. To overtake him in the wickets column is something pretty special. I hold it pretty close to my heart.

"No doubt when I get back home after this series, I'll sit down with my family and have a drink and celebrate that personal goal but let's just see how this Test match goes first."

News Corp Australia

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