Forget the Ashes, the highly-paid Australians can’t beat the minnows Bangladesh

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert


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    The heading is a consensus of news bulletins reporting Bangladesh’s historic win over the Australians at Mirpur by 20 runs.

    Totally irresponsible and ignorant reporting.

    Sure it was a first-time win, and a good one at that.

    But there’s been no mention of what Bangladesh did to England last October at the same ground as yesterday.

    Set 273 in the fourth innings to whitewash the two-Test series, England was well on the way at 0-100.

    In an astonishing collapse thanks to brilliant spin bowling, England was bundled out for 164 to lose by 108, squaring the series 1-1.

    That was Banglladesh’s first win over England.

    Comparing losses on Bangladesh turning wickets with variable bounce to Australia’s belter wickets is chalk and cheese.

    There’s no better way to prove the point than compare the top five Australians in the batting order with their averages in Australia to performances in India and Sri Lanka.

    The only one of the five to be successful in Asia is skipper Steve Smith.

    David Warner
    Career stats – 19 centuries, average 47.64.

    In Australia – 14 centuries, average 59.21.
    In India – 0 centuries, average 24.25.
    In Sri Lanka – 0 centuries, average 27.16.

    Matt Renshaw
    Career – one century, average 39.80.

    In Australia – one century, average 63.00.
    In India – 0 centuries, average 29.00

    Usman Khawaja
    Career – five centuries, average 45.47.

    In Australia – four centuries, average 63.73,
    In Sri Lanka – 0 centuries, average 19.16.

    Steve Smith
    Career – 20 centuries, average 60.18.

    In Australia – 10 centuries, average 68.65.
    In India – three centuries, average 60.00
    In Sri Lanka – one century average 41,16,

    Peter Handscomb
    Career – two centuries, average 49.61.

    In Australia – two centuries, average 99.75.
    In India – 0 centuries, average 28.78.

    Little wonder the baggy greens have won only two of their last 22 Tests in Asia.

    But the national selectors can’t be blamed, they have been picking the best performed Australian batsmen.

    The difference is quite obvious, only Steve Smith can play spin on turning wickets.

    But selectors have expected the Australians to knuckle down and tough it out, despite their shortcomings against outstanding spinners on receptive tracks.

    Paceman Pat Cummins batting nine showed what could be done with his fighting 25 off 98 deliveries in the first dig, and his unbeaten 33 off 60 in the second to come so close to winning.

    Throw in Ashton Agar’s unbeaten 43 in the first dig off 141, was another lesson to his batting peers.

    The perennial disappointment Glenn Maxwell was set in both digs, only to have his normal rush of blood for early dismissal.

    In the first he had toughed it out for 23 off 42 before he pranced down the wicket to be stumped. He was so far out the scorer would have been forgiven if he’d written run out in the scorebook.

    In the second Maxwell toughed it out until lunch with 14 runs off 49.

    First ball after lunch he slashed at a square drive and was bowled.

    Glenn Maxwell Cricket Australia 2017

    (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

    Keeper Matt Wade wasn’t there long enough in either dig to make an impression.

    Five runs off five, and four off 14 didn’t help the Australian cause.

    So what should the selectors do for Chittagong to square the series?

    Khawaja must go, although I hasten to add he’ll be a key batsman in the Ashes series next summer.

    Bring in medium pace all-rounder Hilton Cartwright for Khawaja, bat Smith at three, Handscomb at four, Maxwell at five, and Cartwright at six.

    Maxwell can count himself lucky for another chance, but there’s no-one in the touring party to take his place.

    Wade must go, having done nothing with the bat as expected, but he allowed 30 byes which was more than the losing margin – Handscomb must take over the gloves.

    Jackson Bird will replace the injured Josh Hazlewood who will return home, with left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe the paceman’s replacement.

    And for his dedicated batting, a combination of patience and power, promote Cummins to eight with Agar nine, Nathan Lyon 10, and Bird 11.

    It would be important for team morale to win at Chittagong.

    But whatever the outcome, it won’t have any impact whatsoever on the Ashes series.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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