Other than Mitchell Marsh the visitors have struggled to find answers to Bangladesh’s attack
In the space of 48 hours, Bangladesh have put themselves within touching distance of their first series win over Australia in any format. They have exploited the visitors’ weakness on slow, gripping wickets expertly and shown enough ticker with the bat to overcome what remains a strong Australia bowling attack that has been let down by the batters with the continuing exception of Mitchell Marsh.
Australia talk about this being a valuable experience for players to be exposed to conditions they would not see back home, but for some the lessons are taking time to be absorbed. There has been enough evidence over the matches in West Indies and now Bangladesh that being successful in the BBL is not easily translated to the top level.
There was some resentment in the Bangladesh camp over the impact of the strict Covid-19 protocols on player availability for this series, but if that has filtered down to the dressing room they have channeled any frustrations well. Their coach Russell Domingo made a few pointed remarks about the scarcity of meetings between these two teams – securing a series victory with two games to spare would be a strong statement.
(last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
If Bangladesh can have a fit and in-form Mustafizur Rahman at the T20 World Cup it will make a world of difference for them – and the signs are promising. He has now taken seven wickets in his last three T20Is and was confusing Australia’s batters almost every delivery in the second match. “Man, he is a difficult customer,” Ashton Agar said. “He is really good, it’s incredible skill. It’s a great slower ball as well because it’s not too slow and it’s got a lot of revolutions. I got one that kicked quite a bit, they might go low, they might spin a lot, it’s super variable.”
Although the top order has been a little unconvincing at times there would appear to be little need for Bangladesh to change things unless they want to assess other players.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahedi Hasan, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Nurul Hasan (wk), 9 Nasun Ahmed, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Shoriful Islam
The indication before the series was that most of the squad would be given a game so after being unchanged in the first two matches there could be some movement. With the openers struggling Ben McDermott could come back into the equation while there may be some rotation among the quicks. Mitchell Starc bruised his hip in the field on Wednesday but is expected to be available.
Australia (possible) 1 Alex Carey/Ben McDermott, 2 Josh Philippe, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Matthew Wade (capt & wk), 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Pitch and conditions
The nature of the pitch is unlikely to change which means the same challenge for Australia’s batting to adapt. Conditions are hot and humid but so far the threatened thunderstorms have stayed away.
Stats and trivia
“To have balls spinning quite a lot, balls going low, some kicking up off the surface, let’s be honest it’s very foreign for us. Fantastic that we get this preparation as a lead-up to a World Cup so guys can solidify some plans, we’ve definitely got some work to do.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo