Bangladesh cricket team fresh from victorious tour of Zimbabwe would have to encounter challenge of different dimension against Australia at home. Bangladesh contingent upon return to Bangladesh would straightway enter biosecurity bubble at Hotel Intercontinental Dhaka. Australian team now playing its last ODI against West India would also do that. True Bangladesh played exceptionally well against lowly Zimbabwe. True that famous names like Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glen Maxwell are missing in the Australian squad. Even Aaron Flinch has been forced out through injury. But for the huge depth, diversity and quality of the Australian team, the task is well cut out for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and Australia do not play often. Bangladesh played two tests only in Australia in 2003. Those two tests were played at Darwin and Cairns. Australia won both the test by margins of innings. In 2006 Australian team led by Ricky Ponting visited Bangladesh. Bangladesh should have won the first test at Fatullah Narayanganj. Shahriar Nafis scored a very good century against strong Australian bowling attack. In the final innings Bangladesh was in a winning position till Ricky Ponting playing a match winning century earned Australia 3 wickets victory. Of all persons Mashrafe dropped a sitter of Ponting early on which turned out as opportunity lost. In the second test Australia won again by the margin of an Innings. Of all persons Jason Gillespie scored double century. Bangladesh won the lone test at Dhaka in 2017 preparing a rank turning wicket. But lost the second test at Chattogram.
Bangladesh played 21 ODIs against Australia, lost 19. One ODI in 2015 ICC World Cup at Brisbane was rained out. Bangladesh has one win only against Australia in the triangular tournament in England when Mohammad Ashraful scored that magnificent century. Bangladesh lost all four T20 matches against Australia.
The present Australia team possesses a very strong bowling attack. From its main team only Pat Cummings is missing. Any team of the world would be pleased to have a balanced attack comprising of Mitchel Satrc, Josh Hazzelwood, Jeson Behendorff, Adam Zampa, Michael Swepson, Ashton Agar and Ashton Turner. It would be a tough ask for Bangladesh without Tamim and Mushfique and possibly without Liton to bat admirably against such a potent bowling attack. But the situation that may favor is the fearless attitude of young blooming relatively new Bangladesh batsmen. Naim, Afif, Sohan and Shamim have not much to bother. But two seniors Shakib and Raid must shoulder greater responsibilities and Soumya would be the key.
However, with most key batsmen missing the Australian batting is a bit thin. Bangladesh must try to exploit. SBNCS wicket traditionally turns and grips. Shakib and spinners would play a big role. Hope Mustafiz gets match fit on time. Taskin, Saifuddin and Shoriful should vary pace and bowl according to the wicket. Bangladesh must field well. Young legs Shamim, Naim, Afif already proved as dynamic fielders. Australians are very positive team. They always play to win. Bangladesh must play aggressive cricket. Whatever be the past history opportunity is there to win few matches and turn the table. But it is much difficult to do against the super fit athletes. Playing 5 matches in a week’s time would take a big toll on Bangladesh. Mental toughness would be essential.
Hope Bangladesh team management have seen the footage of matches Australians have recently played against West Indies. WI spinners Akeal Hossain and Hayden Walsh have troubled Australian batting. Other than Mitch Marsh all other batsmen looked uncomfortable against quality spin. But even this batting unit bats deep. Australians never die before death. Hope Bangladesh can cope well with the steep challenge ahead of them. However, too much should not be expected against highly professional and very competitive Australians. Bangladesh would do well proving competitive and creating challenges for Australia.
Alex Carey (Captain), Aston Ager, Wes Ager, Jason Behendorff, Dan Christian, Moises Henriques, Mitch Marsh, Josh Hazzelwood, Ben McDormott, Reiley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchel Starc, Michael Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Mathew Wade and Adam Zampa.
BDST: 1232 HRS, JUL 27, 2021