About the Match
Australia is finally in Bangladesh for their first ever test series after a series potential hurdles were successfully avoided. All talk of security arrangements and pay disputed will have been put on the backburner as an important test season is about to start. Bangladesh is no longer a pushover, especially not in home conditions and this could be a very exciting series.
It is easy to see how far Bangladesh has come in terms of test results just by looking at their recent record, but it is the talk of potential victory that should give the Aussies a heads up. The home team is going to enter this series with victory on their thoughts and this is where they are the most dangerous.
There is no mystery as to what Bangladesh is going to serve up to the Aussies. A flat pitch that will deteriorate after the first couple of sessions and become a minefield by day 3 onwards. England said after their tour to Bangladesh that they had never encountered such tough conditions anywhere else in Asia.
Their batsmen like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib Al Hasan are well versed in playing these conditions. They also back themselves against the spinners that Australia will throw at them. Apart from these three, we really like Mominul Haque as a batsman in test cricket. His measured approach helps him score runs consistently and his technique allows him to play both pace and spin comfortably.
We also believe that it is not the spinners but the Aussie pacers that will be the biggest threat to the Bangladeshis. Facing up to Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins is not going to be easy, especially once the reverse swing gets going.
Still, this is a series that will be decided by the contest between Australia’s batsmen and Bangladeshi spinners. Leading the way with the ball for Bangladesh will be youngster Mehedi Hasan. Expect him to take the new ball against David Warner and co. like he did against England. In fact, it was his 12 wickets in the second match that lead Bangladesh to their first test win over the Englishmen.
Giving him support will be Shakib Al Hasan, who bowling has tapered off somewhat in the last few months, and Taijul Islam. These three will bowl the bulk of the overs while Mustafizur Rahman will bowl in short bursts to keep himself fresh.
Make no mistake, this is a Bangladesh team that has the potential to win test matches at home consistently.
Aussie supporters would be nervous about their trip to the subcontinent. They have always been vulnerable to spin but their recent streak will give no confidence whatsoever to their followers. In the last ten years, Australia has played 22 matches in this region and only won 2 out of them.
They were beaten 2-1 in the last series against India and 3-0 against Sri Lanka before that.
Beneath those numbers though there are some positives for Australia. Steve Smith smashed 499 runs in his visit to Australia and showed why he is probably the best test batsman in the world at the moment. David Warner may have struggled to come to grips with the surfaces here but Matt Renshaw showed remarkable poise and even reminded us of Hayden in the manner which he looked to smother the spin.
Glen Maxwell scored a fighting century in India, Peter Handscomb also showed plenty of application and Usman Khawaja has been given another opportunity to redeem himself.
This is not a batting order which Bangladesh should be complacent against.
Australia also has plenty of firepower in the bowling department. Nathan Lyon is now the most successful spinner in their history and enjoyed an excellent tour of India last year. He will definitely learn from that experience and look to implement it here.
Ashton Agar is a far improved spinner than when he first began and could easily be the x-factor for Australia as well. His batting is also a huge asset to have later down the order.
We are most looking forward to a fully Pat Cummins taking on the Bangladeshi’s though. They don’t like the extra pace that he has and his cutters will be very effective when the pitch starts to break up as well.
Pitch and Conditions
The Pitch at Mirpur will be low, slow and take plenty of spin. In fact, there has been so much rain around that there is a risk of the pitch being too underprepared. The weather around Dhaka has not been kind and there is plenty of rain expected to fall in the area for the next few days as well.
The Aussies were unable to play their warm-up match because of the rain and will come into this match a little undercooked. Bangladesh has a golden opportunity to win this match.
That being said, we would still back the Aussies to win and then look to hedge our bets through in-game plays.
Australia to wi