Minnows may go bang
A DUSTY Australian team and dusty pitches could make for a dirty result in Bangladesh next month.
The two-Test series which once would have been an embarrassing mismatch now has all the hallmarks of being a heavy-duty prizefight.
And Australia, already battered and bruised from the Ashes loss, could receive a humiliating KO from a resurgent Bangladesh team who are plotting to become the mighty minnows who roared.
Take Mitchell Johnson (rested) and Dave Warner (injured) out of any Test side and you would be left with a vacuum of skill and experience. Then subtract the retired Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson, and you are left with a Grand Canyon-sized hole.
Add a Bangladesh side which has recently beaten India, South Africa and Pakistan in 50-over series at home and drawn a rain-marred Test series with India and South Africa. Also add a devilish concoction of dry decks in Chittagong and Dhaka, and you have a recipe for one of the biggest Test series upsets in the history of cricket.
While Australia have been licking their wounds from the Ashes loss, Bangladesh have been steadily building form and confidence.
Bangladesh are dusting up pitches to suit their terrific multifaceted spin attack for the series against a greenhorn Australian team which will find the surfaces there as familiar as batting on the moon.
The likes of Joe Burns (pictured) and Usman Khawaja have dined out on rival bowling attacks on the pacy Gabba pitch but batting against topnotch spin on crumbling wickets is a different matter.
The fact that perennial underachiever Shaun Marsh looks set to escape the selection axe (only because there are so few other options) hard- ly fills you with confidence about Australia’s prospects.
Even the injured Warner has sounded alarm bells about the danger Test series.
“Bangladesh have improved a lot, especially in their home conditions,’’ he said.
“They’re going to be very tough. We don’t know what pitches are being prepared … and as a whole they’re a team that fights.’’
Bangladesh were once the laughing stock of world cricket. But the joke could very easily be on Australia.