First Test preview: Bangladesh v Australia
Both Bangladesh and Australia come into this two Test series with a point to prove.
For Bangladesh it will be about proving they can knock off the traditional powers of Test cricket at home.
Australia will be looking to end a long barren run in Asia and dispel the notion that spin is their kryptonite.
The tourists will also have one eye on the Ashes, though the Shere Bangla stadium pitch is unlikely to offer much of a preview to the home series against England.
After their disastrous tour of Sri Lanka last year Australia put in a much improved performance in the ill-tempered series against India where they went down 2-1 in a memorable Border-Gavaskar trophy contest.
They will be without their pace spearhead Mitchell Starc for this series which comes as a huge blow as he had begun to show signs of becoming an all-conditions bowler.
Quick bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are the only seamers in the Australia XI revealed by skipper Steve Smith on the eve of the first Test.
Spinners Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon will be expected to get through a mountain of overs, depending on how long Bangladesh bat of course, with Smith intimating fifth bowler Glenn Maxwell will be used sparingly.
On the other side however there will be more options with the ball with Bangladesh able to field a team with as many as seven bowlers with their wicketkeeper and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim expected to bat in the top five.
Allrounders Shakib-al-Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Sabbir Rahman will get through a number of overs.
Mehedi Hasan burst onto the international scene last year taking a ten wicket haul at this venue against England and will pose a major threat to Australia’s spin-shy batsmen, he is likely to be supported by left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.
With the new ball, if it isn’t thrown to Shakib, Bangladesh have to choose between Taskin Ahmed and Shafiul Islam as a partner for Mustafizur Rahman who will be eager to prove his red ball credentials.
The balance and options Bangladesh have will make them stiff opposition for an Australia team yet to settle on their best batting lineup.
Usman Khawaja has been given another chance to impress in the absence of Shaun Marsh while Peter Handscomb and young Matthew Renshaw will be looking to cement their Ashes slots after promising starts to their international careers.
Up top David Warner has been struggling for form after a lean series against India while Smith will bat four in this Test and could prove to be the difference between the two sides.
Bangladesh seem to have settled on a top three of Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar and will be looking to them to provide runs in droves.
Australia’s only warm-up game was a complete washout so they will need to adapt on the fly and there are fears they could be caught cold by a competitive Tigers team.
Tamim performs a similar role to Warner in that he is a player who plays with freedom even in the longer format and can take the game away from the opposition, his ability to get quick runs could prove valuable on bowler-friendly wickets.
Shakib’s runs are valuable but it is with the ball that the Tigers need his leadership in a young attack.
Smith is a man who can make runs anywhere in the world and usually does, if Australia are to do well you feel he will have to raise his bat in celebration more than once.
Lyon has cult status in Australia but needs to prove his ability to bowl in Asia, where things should be easier for him but Test cricket is not a straight-forward beast.
Bangladesh squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Mominul Haque.
Australia XI (confirmed): Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Last four head-to-head results
2006 Second Test: Australia won by an innings and 80 runs in Chittagong
2006 First Test: Australia won by 3 wickets in Fatullah
2003 Second Test: Australia won by an innings and 90 runs in Cairns
2003 First Test: Australia won by an innings and 132 runs in Darwin
27-31 August 2017
10:00 (4:00 GMT) start, Lunch 12.00-12.40, Tea 14.40-15.00, Close 17.00
Umpires: Nigel Llong, Aleem Dar
TV Umpire: Ian Gould
Match referee: Jeff Crowe
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