The Aussies arrive in Bangladesh for their first tour of the Tigers’ home den since 2006. It would be extremely unwise to write off the locals too – having recently had Test victories against England and Sri Lanka. Here’s the tour schedule:

BCB XI v Aus – Fatullah: Aug 22-23  CANCELLED
1st Test – Dhaka: Aug 27-31
2nd Test – Chittagong: Sept 4-8

Australian Squad:

Steve Smith

Integral. Crucial. The most important wicket in the Australian side once again. His incredible tour of India yielded 499 runs with three hundreds and an average of 71.28. Phwoar – what a star.

David Warner

Has a few demons to conquer and a few critics to prove wrong. He only scores big when the ball goes straight, they say. Well, with Dhaka and Chittagong expected to turn plenty, a great chance for Warner to hit some great form for the summer. 193 runs at 24 in India.

Ashton Agar

Agar has been in plenty of squads since his memorable debut series, but hasn’t played Test cricket since then. This tour looks like being his big break, to play alongside Lyon and likely Maxwell. Has never been a big wicket-taker, so the key for Agar will be to tie up an end and build a solid partnership with whoever’s operating at the other end.

Jackson Bird

Bird’s had very limited opportunities in his career and the three Tests he played last summer was the best he’s done at stringing several games together. In those Tests he proved he can be a valuable contributor at the top level and was overlooked for the India series for obvious reasons. Needs injury to play.

Hilton Cartwright

Cartwright’s end to last season was massive, with scores of 101 and 170* in his last two Shield outings. Puzzlingly, Mitch Marsh was preferred over him for the India tour despite making a Test debut in the final Test of the Australian summer. A good chance to play if the Aussies want a third seamer, and I get the feeling the 25-year-old will adapt to Test cricket very quickly.

Pat Cummins

How exciting that Cummins is back in the Test team, finally! Yes, he had a shocking Champions Trophy but conditions and circumstances were completely different. His Indian return was two Tests, eight wickets at an average of 30.25. Fingers crossed his body holds him up so he can have a real crack at the Ashes.

Peter Handscomb

The opening chapter of Pistol Pete’s Test career made for such fine reading, it’s understandable that a few problems arose in India. He wasn’t disgraced, with 198 runs from eight innings, but you need more from your number five in big series. These two Tests will be a fantastic stepping stone to gain confidence in foreign conditions. It’s well-publicised how he excels against spin bowling, and Bangladesh have quality spinners, don’t you worry. It will be a fruitful tour for Handscomb.

Josh Hazlewood

Lillee, McDermott, Hughes, McGrath, Lee and now Hazlewood. The big guy is the leader of the attack with Starc absent and must be making early inroads considering the threat of the Bangladeshi openers. Took only two wickets in the two Tests without Starc in the Indian series so the pressure will be on Josh to stand up.

Usman Khawaja

I’ve got Khawaja in my first Test XI, so it means he’s getting the nod ahead of Cartwright and Shaun Marsh. Oh wait, he’s not in the squad is he? We know that Khawaja is a classy player, a real smooth operator. But when Uzzie was on the Sri Lankan pitches this time last year, he looked as comfortable as my Nana in an Apple Store. How he fares will be fascinating, and I really have no idea which way it will go.

Nathan Lyon

Finally getting the plaudits he deserves as Australia’s GOAT off-spinner. 19 wickets was a terrific return from India and his 8-50 in Bengaluru should’ve been enough to seal the series for the tourists. Hopefully he’ll be leading the team song after a couple of tough Tests. Spent a month with Worcestershire over winter.

Glenn Maxwell

Finally worked out Test cricket as we all knew he could with a cracking 104 in Ranchi. Certainly has the skill and appears to have the temperament for Test cricket too. Would love to see him in the Ashes. His bowling was barely used by Smith in India which I found bizarre, and I’m hoping he might be thrown the ball a bit more often in Bangladesh.

Matt Renshaw

What a star this guy is. While his raw numbers from India weren’t outstanding, behind Smith he scored the most runs (232) and faced the most deliveries (606). I would be very sad if he doesn’t play 50 Tests. He’ll carve out at least one big score this series.

Mitchell Swepson

It’s great that Swepson is touring with the side and knocking on the door of the Test team. Is he Australia’s best leg-spinner at the moment? This leg-spin blog says that he probably is the best fit for the Test side right now. He is a genuine wicket-taker so if he does get a chance, he will take scalps.

Matthew Wade

The talk about Wade being dropped is a little premature, in my opinion. I’m not his biggest fan, and have been critical of his keeping on numerous occasions. But he needs to stay in the side for now because his gritty, tenacious attitude with the bat is value asset to this inexperience Australian side. His 40 in Bengaluru and 57 in Dharamsala were vital contributions at important stages of the game in obviously unfamiliar conditions. Let’s hold onto him for the time being.

Likely XI: Renshaw, Warner, Khawaja, Smith (c), Handscomb, Maxwell, Wade (wk), Agar, Cummins, Hazlewood, Lyon

Prediction: This side would’ve learned a lot from that fateful tour to Sri Lanka and the almost-successful tour to India. I’m expecting a series win, but it won’t be a walk in the park.

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