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Bangladesh, Australia prepare to do battle after long wait

  • Published at 03:57 pm August 26th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:33 pm August 26th, 2017
Bangladesh, Australia prepare to do battle after long wait
The much anticipated first Test match between host Bangladesh and visiting Australia is going to start in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday. Bangladesh’s recent performance at home has raised expectation of a series win against the relatively inexperienced Australia. But the Tigers have to play their best cricket and come out all guns blazing to get some positive result against the Aussies, led by Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner. Batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kyes are likely to open proceedings for the Tigers. But the No 3 position remains uncertain for the home side as there are two good quality players vying for that position.

Also read: Sleepless night for Hathurusingha over team selection

Recently Imrul informed that he has been practising at No 3 in training and that he is trying to adapt to his new role. Left-hander Mominul Haque batted at No 3 for Bangladesh in the last few years but his recent run of form initially cost him his place in the squad. Although Mominul was included a day after his exclusion, the No 3 position is likely to be occupied by Imrul, as preferred by head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. In the Tigers’ last Test, against Sri Lanka back in March this year, youngster Mosaddek Hossain batted at No 3. But Mosaddek has been ruled out of the series due to eye infection so the Tigers camp could include Nasir Hossain in that position.

Also read: Mushfiq strongly believes in Australia series win

The inclusion of Nasir could add more spinning options for Bangladesh as off-spinner can prove to be handy, considering Australia have plenty of left-handers in their batting line-up. Weather could play a crucial part as forecasts suggest rain in the upcoming days. Rain could affect the game as the pitch might change its behavior after short or heavy shower. “It is hard to predict what will happen with regards to the Mirpur pitch. The weather condition is quite different in this time of the year. But it is the same for both teams. We will have a better idea of what it will be like. How we apply ourselves will be more important,” said Tigers Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim during the pre-match press conference in Mirpur on Saturday. “We can talk about the wicket at the end of the Test. It was tough to prepare the wicket because of all the rain. The first innings will be crucial, whether we are batting or bowling.” he added.

Also read: Smith surprised at 2-0 prediction in favour of Bangladesh

In contrast, Smith has already announced their playing XI on Saturday. Australia will play two specialist spinners with the experienced Nathan Lyon leading the spin attack alongside left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. Another notable inclusion is the return of top-order batsman Usman Khawaja after seven months. Khawaja, who hasn't played a match at any level since January, will slot in at No 3 with Smith moving down to No 4. Seamers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will lead the seam battery while Warner and Matthew Renshaw will face the new ball.

Also read: Aussie pacers can influence Mirpur Test, says Lyon

Australia will drop down to sixth in the ICC Test ranking if they lose or even draw the series. But Smith said his team are not bothered about the drop in ranking and that they are eager to face the challenge against Bangladesh. “Not really thinking about rankling. For me it’s just about ensuring that our processes are right going in to each game taking ball-by-ball as such. It’s gonna be an exciting series. It’s been 11 years since we last played here. I am very excited about the series,” said Smith. Toss could be an important factor as well as both the captains will look to bat first. Generally the Mirpur pitch becomes more spin friendly as the game goes on so both the teams will try to avoid batting in the fourth innings. Australia XI: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood Bangladesh XI: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Taskin Ahmed/Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taijul Islam   PLAYERS TO WATCH Mehedi Hasan Miraz Off-spinner, Bangladesh The first Test match between Australia and Bangladesh starting in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today is being touted to be a battle of the spinners. Though a lot will depend on the behaviour of the track and the weather, Tigers off-spinner Miraz will be expected to start from where he had left off in the last Test played in Mirpur. The former Bangladesh U-19 captain was instrumental behind Bangladesh’s brilliant win against England last year. Miraz, in his debut series, picked up seven wickets in his first Test and another 12 in the second to guide Bangladesh to their maiden Test win against England. Since that series, the 19-year-old Miraz has been one of the main man in the Bangladesh bowling attack in Tests, decreasing some load off Shakib al Hasan. Nathan Lyon Off-spinner, Australia The Australia fans are expected to have their eyes on the 29-year-old Lyon as he is set for yet another Test series in his most favoured continent. The off-spinner has bagged 58 wickets in 13 Tests in India and Sri Lanka since his Test debut in 2011. In his recent tour of India last March, Lyon has taken 19 wickets in four Tests. Among the four matches, the Australian slow bowler notched five wickets in Pune, eight in Bengaluru and another five in Dharamsala. With such incredible stats behind him, Lyon will be expected to put tough competition for the Bangladesh batsmen.
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