Vol. 4 Num 76 Mon. August 11, 2003  

Darren singles out Mashrafee, Hannan

Australia batsman Darren Lehmann says he supports Bangladesh's entry into Test cricket but admits only two of their players are good enough to play at interstate level in Australia.

Australia thrashed the Asian nation 2-0 in last month's series, winning both Tests by an innings, before the world champions coasted to easy victories in the three one-day internationals.

"It was a good series. Obviously they are the minnows of Test cricket (without a victory since gaining Test status three years ago)," Lehmann told Australia television on Sunday.

"Look, the ICC (International Cricket Council) obviously have to play the minnows against the best teams occasionally.

"They have got to get the experience to play well and play against the best sides I suppose. It's a good grounding for them."

Asked by former Test batsman Dean Jones how many Bangladesh players were worthy of a place in a state side in the Australia domestic four-day competition, Lehmann said: "I think probably the opening bowler (Mashrafee-bin-Mortuza), he's a very good bowler.

"The other player would be the opening batsman Hannan Sarker (who averaged 41.50 in the Test series)," the South Australia captain added.

Lehmann, 33, hit 110 and 177 in the two Tests to boost his average from 39.88 to 50.79 from 14 matches including three hundreds.

Australia captain Steve Waugh made 100 not out and 156 not out to lift his average back over 50 and take his tally of centuries to 32, ahead of India's Sachin Tendulkar and behind only former India opener Sunil Gavaskar's 34.

Asked what Australia gained from the series, Lehmann said: "A few runs and a few wickets hopefully.

"You get lucky sometimes, yeah. Things have been going well so I can't complain," added Lehmann, who has captained English county side Yorkshire.