Unusual Aussie XI leads to 79-year first | cricket.com.au

Advertisement

Unusual Aussie XI leads to 79-year first

Australia name unconventional Test XI featuring three spinners and just one frontline quick

The unusual make-up of Australia's XI for the second Test in Chittagong was underlined by an occurrence on the first morning not seen for almost 80 years.

After days of speculation following their loss in Dhaka, Australia on Monday revealed a team featuring just one frontline quick (Pat Cummins) and three spinners (Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and the recalled Steve O'Keefe) as Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat first.

Cummins unsurprisingly bowled the first over of the match and despite the presence of medium-pace allrounder Hilton Cartwright in the XI, Lyon then removed his cap to take the new ball and bowl the second over of the day.

In doing so, he become the first Australian spinner since Bill O'Reilly in 1938 to open the bowling on the first morning of a Test.

Tamim gets a life before Lyon strikes on day one

While Aussie slow bowlers have opened an innings on numerous occasions since O'Reilly partnered Ernie McCormick against England at Trent Bridge 79 years ago - O'Keefe did so in Pune earlier this year - Lyon is the first since O'Reilly to do it in the very first innings of the match.

Australia's XI in this Test, which they must not lose to avoid slipping to No.6 in the ICC rankings, is notable as the first in almost four decades to feature just a lone frontline pace bowler.

The most recent instance of this came in 1978 when the Aussies went into the final Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park with batting allrounder Trevor Laughlin as Jeff Thomson's new-ball partner.

Wade's super Sabbir stumping boost Australia

And while there was a period late last century when Australia utilised Colin Miller to bowl his seamers with the new-ball before he reverted to off-spin, that 1938 Ashes tour remains the most recent campaign in which Australia routinely named a Test XI with a lone quick.

In that series, McCormick opened the bowling with either leg-spinner O'Reilly or medium-pacer (and specialist top-order batsmen) Stan McCabe for the first two Tests and, after the third was washed out without a ball being bowled, McCormick teamed up with medium-pacer Mervyn Waite in the fourth Test. Waite then paired with McCabe for the final match of the series, which England won by a record margin of an innings and 579 runs.

There is symmetry, too, in the fact Australia have named a three-pronged spin attack for what is just their second Test match in the port city of Chittagong. The last time Australia selected three frontline spinners in the same Test XI came on their only previous trip to the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, when Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Dan Cullen led the attack in 2006.

Tea wrap: Lyon, Agar make inroads as Tigers fight

"We have selected a team for this Test based on playing the conditions we are faced with in Chittagong," said selector Trevor Hohns.

"The inclusion of Cartwright is warranted, he brings solid batting to the side and also gives the captain an extra medium pace option due to Pat Cummins being the only fast-bowler in the XI."

Australia XI: David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon

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