Bangladesh’s fielders struggled with the size of the MCG playing area against Sri Lanka, their first game at the ground. They dropped catches and they grappled with field placements. It was not a surprise that during practice for the quarter-final, fielders were made to charge in from the edge of the boundary to take catches, fire throws and understand the unique dimensions of the venue. Bangladesh’s bowling coach Heath Streak also tested umpire Aleem Dar’s catching with three hits. All were taken, drawing applause from the players, who knew it was an important skill to judge catches in the outfield where only rarely is one able to see the ball against a disturbance-free background. One mistake on Thursday and it could mean the end of a dream for a generation of cricketers.
India’s pace bowling in this tournament has been such a revelation that Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was considered integral to their chances, cannot find a place in the XI. In the last two games, however, there were periods when they struggled against the Ireland and Zimbabwe batsmen. The switch to New Zealand conditions could have been one reason, but it could also have been a sign of increasing weariness. India will hope that a return to Australia will help Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma maintain the intensity.