A mouth-watering contest awaits as Bangladesh host Australia for the second Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. Not often do you term the contest between the two sides as mouth-watering but that’s the reality of the modern Bangladesh is, who are very difficult to beat at home. The first Test in Mirpur showed just that.
History was created when the hosts defeated the mighty Aussies in the first Test. As expected, a rank turner was presented to the visitors who have had huge troubles facing the spinners. To make the matters worse for them, Bangladesh won the toss and batted when the surface was at its best.
A score of 260 seems low but it was pretty good under difficult batting conditions. Australia were bowled out for a paltry 217 and Bangladesh’s spirited 221 in the second innings made it a stiff target of 265 to chase in the 4th innings. David Warner’s century gave the hosts a scare but after he was dismissed, it was all downhill and they ended up falling 20 runs short of the target.
Expect no different from the Chittagong pitch. Bangladesh won’t give Australia even a sniff by producing anything but a turning track. That’s the only way they can defeat the opponents. The Steve Smith-led side would be itching to win to avoid the worst ever series defeat but they will have to go through another rigid spin test.
The opening batsman Tamim Iqbal played a huge role in the win in Mirpur. He scored 71 and 78 in the first and second innings respectively. On a difficult surface, he showed the way to bat. Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes and Sabbir Rahman; all failed to stick long but the skipper Mushfiqur Rahim played a decent knock of 41 in the second innings.
A lot of credit for the victory would go the all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. He scored a fighting 84 in the first innings and bagged five wicket hauls in both the innings. Once again, he would be the go-to man for Rahim.
The bowling was all about the spinners. Out of the 20 Australian wickets that fell, 19 were picked up by the spinners and one was a run-out. Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam played good supporting roles and grabbed wickets in both innings. In Chittagong as well, Bangladesh would go with an all-out spin attack.
The batsmen failed miserably in the first innings and apart from Matt Renshaw and Ashton Agar, the others offered very little resistance. The skipper Steve Smith, who played brilliantly in similar conditions in India earlier this year, his failures in Mirpur made the difference.
David Warner played a brilliant knock of 112 in the second innings and he carried the hopes of the side for long. But after his departure, the batting line-up simply succumbed to the spinners. The others need to take a leaf out of Warner’s book and apply that in their batting against the spinners.
Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out due to an injury and his replacement Stephen O’Keefe might be slotted in the XI straight away. There have been talks of Peter Handscomb donning the gloves which would allow an extra spinner in the side. Nathan Lyon, who bagged 6 wickets in the second innings, needs to take the center stage and guide his fellow spinners.
Players to watch out for
Shakib Al Hasan
Wherever Bangladesh play, the focus will always be on the No.1 all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. He was the scriptwriter of the victory in the first Test. He possesses equal skills with both bat and the ball and always holds the key for the side. Australia would need to figure out a way to tackle him otherwise it will be a long day out there in the field for them.
The Australian skipper scored 8 and 37 in the first and second innings respectively but he needs to contribute a lot more. Against India in the Pune Test, he batted brilliantly under similar conditions and scored a defining century. Australia need a similar performance from the captain to make a comeback.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (c & wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Shafiul Islam, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan
Australia: David Warner, Steve Smith, Jackson Bird, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb(wk), Ashton Agar, Matt Renshaw, Stephen O’Keefe