CHITTAGONG // Business came to a standstill in the port city of Chittagong today after a public holiday was declared to allow Bangladeshi fans to follow their team's World Cup match against Netherlands.
Instead of the usual hustle and bustle seen on the streets, roads were left virtually deserted as fans sat transfixed in front of their televisions and cheered on Shakib al Hasan's men, who need to win the Group B match to boost their prospects of reaching the quarter-finals.
"The holiday was announced so that the teams and officials can move freely in the streets to hold the World Cup match without any hindrance," a Chittagong city administration official told Reuters.
"We support the decision to declare bank holidays on match days because we cannot concentrate in work when cricket is played and channels telecast it," Kazi Ahsanuddin, a businessman from the city said.
Swann is sorry for his coarse language
Graeme Swann admits he was in the wrong for swearing in England's World Cup defeat against Bangladesh, but still believes he should not have been fined by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The off-spinner, frustrated at being unable to grip a ball drenched by dew, immediately apologised to Daryl Harper, the umpire, for using bad language.
He was fined 10 per cent of his match fee for the incident in a day-night match he thinks ought never to have taken place if it was inevitable dew would make his and other spinners' jobs impossible.
"I was wrong to swear and lose my temper during England's defeat against Bangladesh and I apologised straightaway to umpire Daryl Harper," he said in his column in today's Sun newspaper.
"But I think it was ludicrous to play a day-night match in the World Cup that was so heavily influenced by the dew.
"The ball was so wet it was like trying to bowl with a bar of soap. It felt like playing football with both hands tied behind my back."
Even so, Swann regrets his frustration boiled over. He added: "To be caught swearing by the stump mic was very disappointing.
"I don't condone bad language on the field, especially if it is directed near the umpire. As for his punishment, he added: "I shouldn't be fined at all. When you have venues where the dew is heavy, day-night cricket shouldn't be played there."
England will now almost certainly have to beat West Indies on Thursday in their final Group B match if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Ponting defends his bowling attack after poor show against Kenya
Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, maintained he was "not that disappointed" with the efforts of his bowlers against Kenya yesterday despite them taking only three wickets against the supposed whipping boys of World Cup Group A.
Australia booked their quarter-final place with a 60-run win, but allowed Kenya to reach 264-6, with only Brett Lee and Shaun Tait adding to their wicket tally and the other three dismissals coming from run outs.
While Ponting was pleased to see his side play out 100 overs, he said he "would have liked to have taken more wickets in the game," and also conceded he was disappointed to see his spinners fail to take wickets.