Australia vs Bangladesh 1st Test: Five talking points from Australia’s loss

Daniel Jeffrey Editor

By Daniel Jeffrey, Daniel Jeffrey is a Roar Editor

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    Another Test in the sub-continent, another loss for Australia. It was not the start to the tour of Bangladesh Steve Smith’s men were after, with the tourists collapsing in a heap on the final day to hand victory from the hosts.

    Here are five talking points from the match.

    1. Australia’s sub-continental batting remains in a spin

    It’s been an all-too-common occurrence for Australia in the sub-continent; the bowlers adapted to the conditions, the batsmen did not.

    With the exception of Matthew Renshaw in the first innings and David Warner in the second, no top-order batsman really proved their mettle out in the middle during this Test.

    Even the ever-reliable Steve Smith, whose efforts against India earlier in the year were nothing short of superb, fell well short of his lofty standards despite combining with Warner in an excellent second-innings partnership.

    The batting performance was a drastic step in the wrong direction after India, where Australia generally batted with an application that had been woefully lacking on previous tours of Asia.

    The tourists were no doubt disadvantaged by having their warm-up game washed out ahead of the first Test, but despite that, a number of batsmen look entirely lost against spin.

    Usman Khawaja’s efforts left all those pundits who called for his selection in India – myself included – noticeably quiet, Peter Handscomb never looked comfortable, although he was the victim of an excellent second-innings catch from Soumya Sarkar, while Matthew Wade… well, we’ll get to him later.

    Of course, had Smith delivered a century in either innings, as we’ve become so accustomed to in recent times, Australia notches a victory in this Test, and a pretty comfortable one at that.

    But this side needs to get over their reliance on the skipper if they’re ever to become a force in the sub-continent.

    Steve Smith Usman Khawaja

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    2. Let’s do away with the ‘minnows’ tag

    For anyone who’s followed their performances over the past few years, this will come as no surprise. But given the frequency with which Australia have played Bangladesh, it’s worth saying anyway: this is a good cricket side.

    They’re certainly not going to be challenging for the No.1 Test ranking anytime soon, but on their home deck, the Tigers offer a tough assignment for any visiting side. They pulled off a similar victory against England last year, along with an away win against Sri Lanka in March.

    Shakib-al-Hasan showed in this match why he is rated the world’s premier all-rounder (he became the second player in Test history, after Sir Richard Hadlee, to take ten wickets and score a half-century in the same match more than once), Mushfiqur Rahim is an accomplished keeper, captain and player of spin, and Tamim Iqbal proved himself a defiant opening batsman.

    Add in the likes of Mehedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman and there’s the nucleus of a strong side there. They’re no world-beaters, but Bangladesh are far from the pushovers in the Test arena they once were.

    3. Can someone remind me why we picked Matthew Wade?

    Matthew Wade’s position in the Australian XI must surely come under scrutiny following his first Test performance.

    Wade replaced Peter Nevill in the wake of the disastrous Hobart Test last year, brought into the side to bolster the middle order with his supposedly superior batting. But since his return, Wade has averaged just 21 with one solitary half-century and no hundreds. That’s a step backwards from Nevill, whose average was marginally better at 22.

    The change becomes more perplexing when you consider Wade’s inferior wicketkeeping. That was on full display in Dhaka, where he let through 15 byes in each innings, a total he didn’t come close to making back with his batting returns of five and four.

    Actually, come to think of it, Wade’s match deficit was 21 runs. Australia lost by 20.

    Matthew Wade keeping

    (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

    It certainly makes one wonder how exactly Wade is an improvement over Nevill.

    While Wade won’t be going anywhere for the next Test – he’s the only specialist keeper in the side and Peter Handscomb clearly isn’t ready to juggle wicketkeeping and batting duties yet – the pressure will be right on him to keep his spot in the side for the Ashes.

    Speaking of team selection…

    4. What changes will the selectors make?

    We’re guaranteed to see at least one change to the Australian XI, with Josh Hazlewood out for this series and the upcoming tour of India with a side strain. Jackson Bird, the only remaining paceman in the side, looms as a like-for-like replacement, but he’s no certainty.

    That Stephen O’Keefe has been called into the side as Hazlewood’s replacement indicates we could be in for a few selection shocks – and that the selectors aren’t sure who’s going to play in Chittagong yet.

    It’s safe to assume we won’t see a change in the openers – Matt Renshaw top-scored in the first innings and David Warner’s century was one of his finest in the Test arena.

    There’s no such certainty for Usman Khawaja. For all his class on Australian pitches, Khawaja has a poor average in Asia and his two dismissals – one an inexplicable run-out, the other a needlessly aggressive and poorly-played sweep – has his place in the side under serious pressure.

    While some have called for him to be dropped, it would be harsh and premature to only give Khawaja a one-Test run in the side after he wasn’t picked throughout the India tour.

    Despite all-rounder Hilton Cartwright’s run-scoring feats in domestic cricket, it would also be a step in the wrong direction to remove a specialist batsman after Australia struggled for runs this match.

    Hilton Cartwright of Australia bowls

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    But there’s no doubt selectors could be tempted to bring in Cartwright, push Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb up the order and bring in O’Keefe for Hazlewood. That would leave Pat Cummins as the only out-and-out quick in an attack with three spinners, the medium pace of Cartwright and part-time offies of Glenn Maxwell.

    The batting order would be left with an awfully long tail, but that’s not so much of an issue given how well the likes of Cummins and Ashton Agar batted this Test.

    It would be unusual for an Australian side to pick three tweakers, but it’s not the worst idea, particularly if the conditions in Chittagong mirror what we saw in Dhaka.

    5. How good is Test cricket?

    Answer: very.

    Regardless of who you support, there’s no denying this was one hell of a Test – it wasn’t until Glenn Maxwell fell in the final session of the match that the outcome was clear.

    Even then, Pat Cummins’ late striking raised hopes that the tourists could pull off the unlikeliest of victories.

    Let’s not forget Bangladesh had been reeling at 3-10 on the first morning, nor that Australia had seemed to be cruising towards their target when David Warner reached his century with Steve Smith settled at the other end.

    For all Twenty20’s fireworks, big crowds and big dollars, this kind of pulsating, see-sawing match just isn’t possible in the game’s shortest format.

    May we never see the end of Test cricket.

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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    The Crowd Says (90)

    • Roar Guru

      August 30th 2017 @ 5:58pm
      JGK said | August 30th 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

      Love your last point.

      Why bring in SOK who is SLA like Agar? Might as well play Swepson.

      It might be harsh on Uzzie but his performance in this match was just so awful (and he is a confidence player) that I’d rather save him more pain and bring him back for the Ashes.

      • Columnist

        August 30th 2017 @ 6:05pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

        Swepson got absolutely smashed in the practice match on a turning deck in Darwin – about 0-120 at more than 5 runs per over.

        I think that spooked the selectors. They haven’t made the embarrassing backflip of recalling SOK only to leave him on the sidelines.

        • Roar Guru

          August 30th 2017 @ 6:11pm
          JGK said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          He isn’t going to get better without playing.

          • August 30th 2017 @ 9:04pm
            Ross said | August 30th 2017 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

            Khawaja wasn’t the reason we lost 5 for 39 today, maxwell and wade had a lot of blame too, it’s funny how we single khawaja out when he has only had one game , he deserves to play the whole series

        • Roar Pro

          August 30th 2017 @ 6:14pm
          Ben Sewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

          I certainly advocated for Swepson to be in over Agar to begin with but he performed admirably and definitely was not the issue in this game.

          • August 30th 2017 @ 6:21pm
            Johnno said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

            Ashton reminds me of moses or Shane lee, doesn;t know if he a batter bowler or all rounder. Greg Matthews was more polished in both batting and bowling than Agar is…

            • August 30th 2017 @ 8:04pm
              Not a tweetotaler atgm said | August 30th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

              Agar is Australias stuart binny.he bowls like a batsman and bats like a bowler

              • Roar Pro

                August 31st 2017 @ 7:40am
                Ben Sewell said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

                So essentially, just a little bit of nothing 😉

      • Editor

        August 30th 2017 @ 6:11pm
        Daniel Jeffrey said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

        Cheers JGK. I’d say SOK offers a fair bit more control than Agar, who was a bit sporadic this match. They could look to bring in Swepson and SOK for Hazlewood and Agar for more variation in the team, but I doubt they’ll drop young Ashton after one Test.

      • August 30th 2017 @ 10:27pm
        Nudge said | August 30th 2017 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

        They really can’t drop Khawaja after 1 opportunity JGK, and he was only dismissed once by a bowler this test.
        Personally, I’ve always been frustrated with people saying why has Warner been given so many opportunities on the sub continent but Khawaja isn’t afforded the same opportunities. The difference is that Warner at times has looked capable of producing a outstanding innings like today, where Khawaja is just a complete walking wicket in Asia. If you hadn’t seen cricket before you would not know who is a better batsman over there between Khawaja and Lyon. In saying that they have picked him now and has to get the next match as well. If he fails that’s it for Asia for him. Let’s keep everything crossed he can pull something out of the hat next match.
        Renshaw
        Warner
        Smith
        Khawaja
        Handscomb
        Maxwell
        Wade
        Agar
        Cummins
        Sok
        Lyon
        More than happy if Cartwright comes in for Wade though, Handscomb with the gloves. If they are going to try it this is the match

    • August 30th 2017 @ 6:06pm
      Johnno said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

      Great stuff this test match, bring Bangladesh out for a top end series in our winter again I say…

    • Roar Pro

      August 30th 2017 @ 6:12pm
      Ben Sewell said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

      How garb is Wade!! I’m still at a loss as to why Nevill was dropped to begin with. Wade is simply not a good keeper and for a guy picked to be good bat at number 7, he’s shown me nothing to suggest he can wield the willow competently in the last year in the red ball game.

      • August 31st 2017 @ 8:46am
        Dom said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        But he’s chirpy behind the stumps! Chirpy!

    • August 30th 2017 @ 6:15pm
      Bazz said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

      We are in an absolute dire position keeping wise.

      Wade has been awful since coming back (I thought his keeping in India showed improvement but it was terrible in this match). Contributing nothing with the bat really isn’t helping either.

      That being said, what are the alternatives?

      Carey and Whiteman are next cabs off the rank, but are a good shield season away from being ready. Going back to Nevill doesn’t really inspire much confidence either.

      No idea what the answer is, but completely carrying your wicket keeper isn’t an ideal situation.

      • August 30th 2017 @ 9:05pm
        Ross said | August 30th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

        Make handscombe the keeper

        • August 31st 2017 @ 8:48am
          Dom said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          I like Handscomb, but if our problem with our keeper is his keeping then swapping him for a part-time keeper is not the most logical move. Nevill back in – he’s a better bat than his Test record so far suggests and his keeping is worth far more to the team than Wade’s.

    • August 30th 2017 @ 6:15pm
      Pedro the Maroon said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

      You forgot to mention Wade’s use of the referral system.
      He did not refer in the first innings when not out.
      He referred in the second innings when plumb.
      Ah memories of Watto – but Watto could at least bat.

      • August 31st 2017 @ 3:41am
        RM said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:41am | ! Report

        …and bowl a bit. Wade can’t even keep a bit…

    • August 30th 2017 @ 6:24pm
      bozo said | August 30th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

      How about a 6th talking point. The income of each of the players from the losing first world country could buy the whole of the players of the winning third world country. What a joke!

      • August 30th 2017 @ 7:49pm
        Dianne Andrews said | August 30th 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

        CA could perhaps re-negotiate contracts and base payments on performance.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 12:56am
        Joey Johns said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:56am | ! Report

        those players from Bangladesh don’t exactly pull 92 thousand on Boxing day at the G though do they…

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