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Aussies risk drop down Test rankings

Steve Smith's team will likely head into this summer's Magellan Ashes ranked lower than their Ashes rivals

Australia risk sliding as low as seventh on the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings if they're unable to conquer Bangladesh in the upcoming two-match series.

And regardless of the outcome of the Qantas tour of Bangladesh, it will take a shock victory by the West Indies to prevent England heading Down Under ranked higher than Steve Smith’s side.

When England sealed a 3-1 series win over South Africa on Monday they moved above Australia into third position, gaining six points to move from 99 points to 105 points, five ahead of Australia. 

Quick single: Australia v Bangladesh: Reasons to get excited

It’s a position they’ll retain unless they somehow lose their three-match series to the eighth-ranked Windies on home soil over the next month.

Meanwhile, a 2-0 loss in Bangladesh could see Australia drop as low as seventh, depending on the result of this week’s third Test between Sri Lanka and India.

Bangladesh sit ninth on the Test table, but they have recorded historic maiden Test victories over both England and Sri Lanka in the last 12 months, while Australia have lost their past four series in Asia, losing 11 of 13 Tests with just one win.

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Their last series victory came in Michael Clarke's first series as Test captain, when they beat Sri Lanka 1-0 across three Tests in August 2011.

However Australia did snap a nine-Test losing streak in Asia with a shock victory over India in Pune in February and were competitive throughout that series in a 2-1 loss.

"It'll be hard and I don't think they believe it will be anything but hard," former Australia skipper Ian Chappell said.

"Not so much because of the pay dispute, it'll be hard because the conditions there are difficult and in the last 12-18 months Bangladesh have really improved."

"This will be a difficult tour."

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Meanwhile, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has thrown down the gauntlet to Australia, vowing to fight fire with fire.

Australia have not played a Test in Bangladesh since Jason Gillespie scored a double-century as nightwatchman in 2006.

Much has changed for Bangladesh in the intervening nine years and Mushfiqur is confident his team can spring a surprise similar to how Sri Lanka ambushed the then top-ranked Aussies in 2016.

Quick single: Swepson ready for Bangladesh challenge

Should Bangladesh claim a series win and West Indies lose to England, Mushfiqur’s team will move into eighth place in the Test rankings.

"We have always heard that Australia play aggressive cricket. We are ready to play against them with an aggressive mindset," Mushfiqur told Cricbuzz.

"If we can use the home conditions and play to our potential, I don't think it is impossible to beat Australia.

"To be honest, if we can play our best cricket, we can beat any team in the world because we have that ability.

"Earlier, we had to play well while others had to play badly if we wanted to achieve success but that is not the case now."

The Australian Test squad, including recent additions Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird, will head to Darwin for a pre-tour training camp later this week.

The ICC Test team rankings // icc-cricket.com
The ICC Test team rankings // icc-cricket.com

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matthew Renshaw, Matthew Wade (plus one fast bowler TBC)

BANGLADESH PRELIMINARY SQUAD: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.


FIXTURES


18 August Australia arrive


22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong