Sport Cricket Why Bangladesh could give Aussie cricket fans a nasty shock
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Why Bangladesh could give Aussie cricket fans a nasty shock

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David Warner has never been at his best on the sub-continent. Photo: Getty
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Unbeatable. It is a big, bold word – and one you would not associate with a side that has won just nine of their past 100 Test matches.

But that is how a new, revitalised Bangladesh feel when they play on home soil.

Star all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan uttered the 10-letter word in the build-up, telling The Daily Star that his side is “very much unbeatable at home”.

If it seems far-fetched, consider this: Aussie legend Dean Jones has the hosts as favourites against Steve Smith’s men in the two-Test series, which starts in Dhaka today.

“They might have been under-performers until a couple of years ago but they are a real deal now, especially in their own backyard,” Jones told The New Daily.

“They have to start favourites … look at the way they knocked off England last year.

“Then they just beat Sri Lanka a few months ago, and we all know how we went in Sri Lanka [Australia lost a Test series there 3-0] last year – so that tells you something.”

Jones, widely regarded as one of Australia’s finest ever players of spin bowling, believes a Bangladesh series win shouldn’t surprise.

“I had a chance to watch them in close quarters [recently] and they are such a professional unit,” he said.

“They had strict plans, were disciplined and importantly, they were able to execute them in a pressure situation.”

Australia have not won a Test series on the Subcontinent since 2011 and while they improved vastly in India earlier this year, Jones felt it was only fair to judge the team’s success on results.

“We improved, but we didn’t win the series. We still lost two Test matches,” he said.

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Bangladesh celebrate their win against England.

“They might have worked out a method against India, but this is a different challenge.

“Bangladesh has some high-quality spinners that will pose problems for Australian batsmen.

“If our guys get into the mindset that we went well in India, so we should be able to handle Bangladesh, then they will be in big trouble.”

Jones nominated Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal, middle-order batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and spin-bowling all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan as the danger men for Australia.

The Aussies have not toured Bangladesh since 2006, when Ricky Ponting led his men to a 2-0 victory.

A lot has changed since then, and former Australian batsman Dav Whatmore – who coached Bangladesh in that series – said his old side “lacked belief” in that series.

“We had all the enthusiasm in 2006 but back then we didn’t have the capacity to compete over the five-day period,” he told The New Daily from India.

“But that has changed dramatically now. With the current team, the players not only have self-belief, but importantly, they have faith in their teammates.

“It takes a while for that culture to develop but over the past year or so you can sense this is what is happening, which makes them even more dangerous.”

Whatmore believes that this series – Australia’s first Test tour since India – will be “really tight”.

“Australia is still a quality team and Bangladesh will have to play some quality cricket to beat them,” he added.

“But I will put it this way. Don’t be astounded if they [Bangladesh] come out on top.”

Australia squad: David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Hilton Cartwright, Jackson Bird, Mitch Swepson

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