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26-Aug-2017 05:41:00 GMT
Bangladesh v Australia, 1st Test, Mirpur

Spin-wary Australia face confident Bangladesh

Dhaka: The Australians have not won a Test series on the subcontinent since 2011, when they beat Sri Lanka 1-0, and have been preparing hard for the slow and turning tracks.

Australia is wary of the threat posed by Bangladesh's spinners ahead of their two-Test series starting on Sunday in Dhaka, batsman Glenn Maxwell said.

Steve Smith's team have not played a Test in Bangladesh in more than a decade and their preparations were hampered when their only practice game was washed out because of flooding in Fatullah.

The opening Test at Mirpur will be the first between the countries since 2006, winning the two-match series 2 nil.

Part of the visitors' drills this time has included batting in the nets without a front pad, a lay designed to emphasise the importance of using the bat in order to avoid leg-before decisions against the slow bowlers.

Despite their lack of match practice, Maxwell, who suffered a heatstroke during training this week, believes the tactic will help the Australians against an upbeat Bangladesh unit, that has won two of their last three Tests.

Australia's most recent trips to the subcontinent ended in defeat. In 2016, they lost 3-0 in Sri Lanka and earlier this year they were beaten 2-1 in India.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, are approaching the series as a great opportunity to register their first Test win against Australia since they were awarded Test-playing status in 2000.

Spinners Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan and Taijul Islam, who combined for 20 wickets during their historic win against England last year, loom as the key players for the hosts.

Star all-rounder Shakib is confident his team's home advantage and spin force will trouble their Australian counterparts.

The visitors are also expected to rely heavily on spinners in Dhaka by playing left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, for his first Test in four years, alongside veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

Talented left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman, who missed the England series because of injury, is set to bolster the pace attack for the Mushfiqur Rahim-led side.

Teams from

Bangladesh:
Mushfiqur Rahim (captain & wk), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird.

Weather:
Rain is predicted on all five days of the Test.

Stats and trivia:

  • Currently ranked fourth in the world, the former top-ranked team risk slipping further down the ICC ratings if they lose either Test, or draw both matches.
  • This Test will be the 50th for both Tamim Iqbal and Shakib; they will join Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur and Habibul Bashar as the only Bangladeshis to reach the milestone.
  • Lyon needs three wickets to become the eighth Australian to 250 in Tests.

Match facts
August 27-31, 2017
Start time 0930 local (0330 GMT)


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