Bangladesh set dates for Baggy Green rematch
Australia's first visit to Bangladesh since a drawn series in 2017 has been confirmed, with 120 valuable World Test Championship points up for grabs
11 March 2020, 10:26 PM AEST
Australia's next Test assignment has been confirmed with the Bangladesh Cricket Board revealing the dates and venues for a two-match series in June.
Australia will return to Chattogram (formerly known as Chittagong) and Dhaka for the two-Test series where 120 points in the World Test Championship will be up for grabs.
It's the same two venues they played in 2017 when a side captained by Steve Smith drew a series 1-1, although the order will be reversed in 2020 with the first Test at Chattogram's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The first Test will be played from June 11 before the second match at Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium from June 19.
It means Australia's three-format players will spend some eight weeks out of the country over the winter, with a series comprising of three T20s and three ODIs in England to follow the Bangladesh tour.
Australia will have one four-day practice match to prepare for the Tests against Bangladesh, possibly at Chattogram's MA Aziz Stadium, while several stars – including World No.3 Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne – will arrive from stints in English county cricket.
On the 2017 tour that started in Dhaka, Nathan Lyon claimed an incredible 22 wickets in the two-Test series while David Warner conquered his subcontinent demons with a century in each Test.
The make-up of Australia's Test squad is expected to be largely settled following their dominant 'perfect summer' of five successive crushing Test victories against Pakistan (twice) and New Zealand (three-nil).
"We had our review of the summer and what's interesting and relevant is the continuity of the team as much as the balance of the team," head coach Justin Langer said after the SCG Test in January.
"We've been able to keep the guys together. We've obviously got an excellent fast bowling attack, we've got the best off-spinner in the world (Nathan Lyon), we've got two of the best batsmen who have played for Australia (David Warner and Steve Smith) and … Tim Paine is the best wicketkeeper in the world."
"When you have all those bases covered, it means you've got a very good cricket team.
"We're still working towards having a great cricket team, but we've got a very good cricket team at the moment."
The Bangladesh series will be Australia's only foreign Test match engagements in 2020 before hosting Afghanistan and India next summer.
"If we go to Bangladesh and play well and get some wins over there, then we come back to Australia playing India, and that's a pretty mouth-watering series for players and for fans," Test captain Paine said in the aftermath of Australia's 280-run win in the third Test against New Zealand.
"It's hard not to be looking at that, and we've got some people at Cricket Australia already looking ahead to that series.
"But for the main playing group our next goal is Bangladesh, and we certainly can't take that lightly."
Opener Joe Burns' form in the second half of the Marsh Sheffield Shield season could have eased scrutiny on his position, while the conjecture on who would be Lyon's understudy eased with the call-up of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson for this summer's SCG Test.
In 2017 Australia played spin-bowling allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar alongside Lyon with two quicks (Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins) in the first Test.
Mitchell Starc was out of the tour injured while Hazlewood picked up a side strain in the opening match.
In the second Test they won to level the series, Australia played two front-line spinners in Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe alongside Maxwell and Agar with Pat Cummins as the sole front-line quick.
Seam-bowling allrounder Hilton Cartwright was drafted into the side for just his second Test match with Usman Khawaja jettisoned.
Once viewed as minnows in world cricket, Bangladesh have become a legitimate threat at major international limited-overs tournaments and a force in Test cricket on their home turf.
The Tigers have won Tests over England and Australia in recent years but have been hampered by the ban for Shakib al-Hasan, one of the finest allrounders in the history of the game, for failing to report bookmaker approaches.
Shakib was banned in late October for two years – one fully suspended – meaning he will not be eligible to return to international cricket until October 29 this year.
Shakib was found to have failed to report two approaches he received during a tri-series between Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in January 2018, and a third related to a 2018 Indian Premier League match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab.
The Tests had originally been scheduled for February but were moved after negotiations between the two countries.
A three-match T20 series between the countries has also been moved – it had originally been scheduled for last October – and will now be played in Bangladesh in 2021 in the lead-up to next year's T20 World Cup in India (a tournament that itself is a replacement for the now-scrapped Champions Trophy).
Qantas Tour of Bangladesh
First Test: June 11-15, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram
Second Test: June 19-23, Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka