Qantas Tour of Bangladesh 2017
Tigers ready as Lyon approaches Benaud
Bangladesh confident they can handle Aussie spin threat as off-spinner approaches 250 Test wickets
Louis Cameron Dhaka
23 August 2017, 07:48 AM AEST
Bangladesh's Imrul Kayes believes Australia possess "one of the best off-spinners in the world right now" in Nathan Lyon, but the batsman says the Tigers are well-versed in handling bowlers of his ilk on their home turf.
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As it was six months ago in the lead-in to their Test tour of India, Australia's slow-bowling stocks have been the subject of tight focus as they gear up for a rare venture into neighbouring Bangladesh.
Imrul, who six years ago struck 93 against an attack featuring current skipper Steve Smith on Australia's 2011 ODI tour of Bangladesh, made it clear the hosts aren’t taking the threat of Lyon lightly.
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But the 30-year-old, whose three Test centuries have all come on home soil, is confident his side can handle Australia's most prolific off-spinner.
"Nathan Lyon is one of the best off-spinners in the world right now," Imrul told reporters on Tuesday, five days out from the first Test in Dhaka.
"I think we are ready to face him, not only me but everyone (who will be) facing him.
"Sub-continent wickets (are) always spinning so we are used to this."
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Already the leading exponent of his craft in Australia’s Test history, Lyon is two wickets away from going past Richie Benaud's mark of 248 Test scalps, currently the second-highest tally for an Australian spinner behind Shane Warne's 708.
Lyon answered a challenge from coach Darren Lehmann to improve his output on the subcontinent earlier this year, picking up 19 wickets at 25.26 during the Border-Gavaskar series including a haul of 8-50 in Bengaluru, the best figures ever recorded by a touring bowler in India.
Imrul is one of several left-handers set to feature in Bangladesh's top-order, which will no doubt have Lyon licking his lips after four Tests against an Indian batting line-up almost entirely bereft of southpaws.
An opener by trade, Imrul confirmed coach Chandika Hathurusingha had told him he would bat at No.3 for the first Test.
And if Soumya Sarkar partners opener Tamim Iqbal as expected, star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan takes up his regular spot in the middle-order and Mominul Haque is reinstated after his omission from their most recent Test (against Sri Lanka in March), Bangladesh would have five lefties in their top seven.
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For his part, Imrul is confident he's got the ability to weather an Australia attack also likely to feature quicks Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, as well as left-arm tweaker Ashton Agar.
"I have tackled the South Africa and England bowling attacks which are some of the best in the world," said Imrul.
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"I have been playing international cricket for seven-eight years so I think I can handle the Australian attack."
Agar, meanwhile, says although spin will undoubtedly be a major factor in the series, the strength of Australia's pace-attack shouldn't be discounted.
"I think with our fast bowlers Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and Jackson Bird, they can all bowl really well if we get the ball reversing (reverse swinging)," he said.
"They're going to play a really big role too, so it's going to be a really big team effort. But certainly, spin will play a major role, I have no doubt."
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: 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
4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong