Wade under pressure to hold his spot: Border | cricket.com.au

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Wade under pressure to hold his spot: Border

Former Test skipper says Australia may look to hand Peter Handscomb the gloves for the second Test in Bangladesh

Former Test skipper Allan Border says there is a question mark over Matthew Wade's position in Australia's XI heading into the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

Wade posted scores of 5 and 4 in Australia's first Test loss in Dhaka and also conceded a total of 30 byes as Australia lost by 20 runs to hand the hosts their first-ever Test win over the Aussies.

While Wade leaked plenty of runs behind the stumps on a surface that turned sharply and bounced unpredictably from the opening morning, it should be pointed out that experienced Bangladesh keeper Mushfiqur Rahim - playing his 28th Test on home soil as a keeper-batsman - also conceded 22 byes with the gloves.

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The total of 52 byes was the most conceded in a Test match in more than a century where less than 350 overs were bowled.

While Wade is the only frontline gloveman in Australia’s touring party, Border suggested some-time ‘keeper Peter Handscomb could be handed the gloves for the second Test to make room for an extra batsman in the XI, namely allrounder Hilton Cartwright, the only auxiliary batsman in the squad.

"I think Matty Wade's position in the side is another question mark," Border told Fox Sports News.

"He really struggled behind the stumps, which is his key role, and again with the bat.

"So they may look at putting Handscomb in as the wicketkeeper and playing an extra batsman.

"I thought (Wade's) keeping was improving, but once you go to the subcontinent you really test your skills out there.

"It's difficult, but 30 byes in that last Test match was pretty telling, wasn't it?

"He's not producing enough runs with the bat to compensate for the keeping. So he's the one under the most pressure."

Border, however, conceded Handscomb was more of a "stop-gap" than a long-term option, and offered Peter Nevill, Tim Paine and Cameron Bancroft as potential long-term solutions.

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Captain Steve Smith had scotched suggestions a fortnight ago that Handscomb, less than a year into his Test career, might be elevated to the role of specialist wicketkeeper.

Speaking to media prior to Australia's departure for Bangladesh, Smith replied flatly "probably not" when asked if it was possible that Handscomb – a batsman-keeper who took the gloves during their pre-tour practice match in Darwin – would fill that role in the Test series.

The scenario had been floated as a "realistic possibility" earlier that week by former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, if Smith and the national selectors felt the team would benefit from the inclusion of an additional spin bowler or specialist batter.

Gilchrist also pointed out that Wade, who took over the position from Peter Nevill during the previous Australian summer, remained vital to Australia's plans and Smith confirmed that when he indicated Wade was safe in his current role behind the stumps.

Wade completes a sharp take down the leg side in Dhaka // Getty
Wade completes a sharp take down the leg side in Dhaka // Getty

Even though the left-hander has posted just one score of 50-plus from 15 innings since returning to the Test team last November, with that score coming in the final match of Australia's 1-2 series to defeat in India earlier this year.

"Matty, in India, had some good innings without going on to get a big score," Smith said. "His plans were really good and the way he plays spin and adapts is really good, so it would be great if we could have him go on and get a big score.

"It would be really good for his confidence and his keeping would benefit from that as well.

"He's been working really hard, he's got (newly appointed Bupa Support Team member) Brad Haddin on board now as a fielding coach and someone that he can work with really closely, and he's going to benefit from that for sure."

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Handscomb, who posted scores of 33 and 15 in Dhaka, said earlier this month he was open to the possibility of taking the gloves if called upon, but stressed that he was a batsman first and a gloveman second.

The Victorian, who has frustratingly posted scores between 15 and 33 eight times in his past 10 Test knocks, said his main focus was on scoring runs as a specialist batsman.

"It's an interesting one," Handscomb said of how he viewed the role of wicketkeeper in his skillset. "I was doing some white-ball keeping for Yorkshire in England (this year) as well.

"Ultimately I'm happy to do it if it's good for team balance, if it opens up a position for another bowler or batter to come into the side.

Handscomb took the gloves in Australia's practice match in Darwin // Getty
Handscomb took the gloves in Australia's practice match in Darwin // Getty

"But first and foremost I've always said that batting is my number one (priority), and 'keeping plays second fiddle."

Australia will make at least one change to their XI for the second Test, with Josh Hazlewood already ruled out due to a side injury. Spinners Steve O’Keefe and Mitchell Swepson, quick Jackson Bird and Cartwright are the four players in the squad hoping to force their way into the side for the match in Chittagong.


Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

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.


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka, Bangladesh won by 20 runs


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong