Australia arrive in Bangladesh having struggled with the subcontinent conditions on numerous occasions in the past couple of years, they’ve been labeled by many as ‘flat track bullies’ which is a fair assessment & reflection on Australia’s performances away from home in recent times.
Bangladesh are a team on the rise, their test ranking might not show it but they’ve been able to challenge the very best and grind out draws against quality sides such as England, South Africa and India this year. They’ve found some continuity in their line-up which hasn’t been the case for a number of years now, this could arguably be their most important series of the year, if they can take a big scalp like Australia the cricketing world will go berserk and Bangladesh will be back on the map so to speak. The key battle that Bangladesh must cash in on is the oppositions weakness against spin on these dry & deteriorating wickets in Asia. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam and most importantly Shakib Al Hasan could cause some serious damage to Australia’s batting line-up, we saw David Warner in particular really struggle against the Indian spinners in their last test series back in late March. They are a very spin-dependent team which is understandable in these dry subcontinent conditions, other options include Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain Mosaddek Hossain and Mominul Haque which gives them a variety of options to choose from. If Bangladesh can strangle Australia for long enough, the implied pressure will build and the visitors might get a bit wrestles which could be disastrous for them, but favorable for Bangladesh. To back up the bowling, Bangladesh have built a strong core batting group that have shown promising signs against the very best bowlers International cricket has got to offer at the moment. The super-consistent Tamim Iqbal has managed to master all formats of the game and is (apart from Shakib) one of Bangladesh’s most accomplished players. Sabbir Rahman is an exceptional talent in the middle-order, his aggressive approach will be vital in these two tests against Australia. Both Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes lack consistency, they’re two very solid top order batsman but can be caught on the back-foot a lot which needs to improve. It’s the Bangladeshi veterans who may determine their country’s fate in this series – Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal need to lead a young-charged Bangladesh, Australia will be out for blood having been heavily criticized for their form away from home.
From Australia’s point of view, this is a must-win series. Anything other than a win will be devastating for a team that has previously been known for it’s success both on home turf and touring around the world, it appears that one of the circuits has been completely cut off and is no longer functioning. The inclusion of top order batsman Usman Khawaja was a well-deserved selection given his efforts with the bat in last years summer of cricket at home. Shaun Marsh struggled in India which probably decided his fate for future tours, Khawaja getting the nod which should add a bit more consistency around that top order. Young-gun Matt Renshaw has more than proven his worth in the side after some solid contributions at the top of the order against India, he’s a batsman that can tire the bowling attack from just playing defensive which works heavily in favor of his batting technique, that being said Renshaw pounces on anything that he sees as hittable. It’s unknown why Australia struggle so much in the subcontinent with the bat, theories are that Australian pitches play a lot faster compared to the Asian wickets that tend to hold up. No matter what the conditions home or away, captain Steve Smith has not been fazed and that certainly reflects on his past performances on foreign soil. Smith has astonishingly maintained a batting average of 59.86 away from home, that’s just below his overall test average of 61.05. You’d think that Smith holds the key to Australia’s success, well that’s not quite the case given that they lost the previous Ashes series in England, lost to Sri Lanka last year and most recently India in a heated series. The likes of David Warner, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell need to gain more consistency in difficult & unfamiliar conditions, it’s all well and good scoring plenty of runs during Australia’s summer of cricket, but if you can’t perform away from home you don’t deserve to be in the team. Another interesting inclusion in the squad, Ashton Agar, who hasn’t seen the baggy green since the 2013 Ashes series has been selected for the tour. Australia are unlikely to play three spinners, Nathan Lyon will once again be the front-line spinner accompanied by one of Ashton Agar or Mitchell Swepson. Spin will be vital, but maybe just equally as important will be the contribution of seamers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, two totally different bowlers but equally as damaging.
It’s monsoon season is Bangladesh which makes it’s quite unusual that the test series has been scheduled at this stage in the year. Rain is currently forecast for the entirety of the five days which will more than likely see the match either drawn or washed out. Thunderstorms are also predicted along with heavy rainfall which isn’t what Australia wanted given that they were looking to find some form in the test arena ahead of the upcoming ashes series against England this summer.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Bangladesh | 1st test | Mirpur
- Tamim Iqbal
- Shakib Al Hasan
- Mustafizur Rahman
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Mehidy Hasan Miraz
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 1st test | Mirpur
- Nathan Lyon
- Steve Smith
- Josh Hazlewood
- Usman Khawaja
- Glenn Maxwell
Team News | Bangladesh
Mosaddek Hossain has been withdrawn from the first test with an eye infection, his replacement named was Mominul Haque who might come straight into the starting eleven in Mosaddek’s absence. Taskin Ahmed and Shafiul Islam will battle it out for the second seamers spot in the team.
Bangladesh (possible) – 1. Tamim Iqbal 2. Soumya Sarkar 3. Imrul Kayes 4. Mominul Haque 5. Sabbir Rahman 6. Shakib Al Hasan 7. Mushfiqur Rahim (c & wk) 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz 9. Taijul Islam 10. Mustafizur Rahman 11. Taskin Ahmed/Shafiul Islam.
Team News | Australia
With James Pattinson ruled out of the series due to injury, that leaves Australia with three seamers left to select from. Australia are most-likely to go into the first test with Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins as their two quicks, leaving Nathan Lyon and one of Mitchell Swepson or Ashton Agar to makeup the bowling attack along with Glenn Maxwell with his part-time offbreaks.
Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Matt Renshaw 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Steve Smith (c) 5. Peter Handscomb 6. Glenn Maxwell 7. Matthew Wade (wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Ashton Agar/Mitchell Swepson 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood.