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Aussies to face another trial by spin

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur says turning tracks will be the order of the day for upcoming two-Test series

If there's ever an issue to trigger the ire of a cricket supporter, it's that of pitch doctoring – the unofficial practice of preparing wickets to suit the home side and make life as uncomfortable as possible for the opposition.

The subject of endless online barbs between supporters, it's never officially admitted to but generally accepted. And why not? Test cricket is, after all, meant to be testing.

So it will be greeted with little surprise that Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahman has said Australia can expect big turning tracks for their first Test tour of the subcontinent nation in more than 11 years.

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The difference is, Mushfiqur knows this may yet prove to be a double-edged sword and Australia may yet prove the better equipped of the two sides to handle it.

"Of course we want a spin track for the upcoming series," Mushfiqur told reporters in Chittagong yesterday where the Bangladesh squad is in an intensive training camp.

"The wickets at home always helped us but we were not able to make the best of it. But that has improved in last two to three years.

"We now believe (we have the ability) to turn the game our way not only against Australia but against any team."

In Bangladesh's last home Test series teenage spinner Mehedi Hasan orchestrated an England collapse as the home side claimed their maiden Test win against the team, and drew the series 1-1.

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Australia have seen their fair share of spinning wickets already this year. From the specialised spin practice wickets built at Brisbane's National Cricket Centre to the intense training camp in Dubai, no stone was unturned in their bid to prepare for the four-Test series against India in February-March.

That saw Australia stun India out of the blocks with a thumping win in the Pune Test and a hard-won drawn Test in Ranchi.

Heavy defeats in Bangalore and Dharamsala ensured India reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy but Austalia had done much to improve their overseas reputation that was so badly tarnished in Sri Lanka 12 months ago courtesy of a 3-0 whitewash.

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"Everyone is aware of the challenge they pose. But we are confident that we'll be able to make matters difficult for Australia, like we did for England," Mushfiqur said.

"I believe it is the right time to play Tests against a team like Australia.

"We have some talented bowlers, batsmen and allrounders in the side now, which is important for a Test team.

"We also have a good bunch of experienced cricketers. We need make sure that we all are fit before the series and have a good start in the game."

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The spin friendly conditions make it all-but certain that Australia will play two spinners for the Tests in Dhaka and Chittagong.

And Australia skipper Steve Smith has said Ashton Agar will "get his opportunity" against Bangladesh after last playing a Test at Lord's in 2013.

Bangladesh media reported there was uncertainty about the venue for Australia's warm-up game. Scheduled for Fatullah, the venue suffered severe flooding during the monsoon season.

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Regardless of the rains, the excitement over the visit by Steve Smith, David Warner and co is palpable in the cricket-mad nation that last saw Test cricket when they beat England by 108 runs in October.

"We will be playing at home after a long time, this is a big opportunity. Not just for me – Bangladeshi crowds are very excited about being hosts to this series," Mushfiqur said.

"They have been waiting patiently. If we can give it our best, I think the result will be a good one for us."


Australia in Bangladesh 2017

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

Bangladesh squad (preliminary): 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.


11-17 August Australia pre-tour training camp, Darwin


18 August Australia arrive


22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong


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