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Australia ‘ahead of the game’ ahead of Bangladesh tour despite MOU distraction

Australia met in Darwin on Wednesday to begin a pre-tour training camp ahead of the Bangladesh tour, with the first warm-up game in Fatullah scheduled for less than two weeks’ time.

cricket Updated: Aug 10, 2017 19:20 IST
Australia cricket team,Bangladesh vs Australia,Bangladesh cricket team
The Australia cricket team will face Bangladesh in a two-match Test series.(REUTERS)

Darren Lehmann believes Australia are “ahead of the game” in their preparation to tour Bangladesh, despite their players having spent the best part of the last two months unemployed.

The majority of Australian stars have been away from the game since their Champions Trophy elimination in June as a dispute between Cricket Australia and the players’ union left their security - and the tour of Bangladesh - in jeopardy.

However, last week’s settlement means the two-Test trip is back on, with Bangladesh welcoming Lehmann’s men to Mirpur and Chittagong.

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Australia met in Darwin on Wednesday to begin a pre-tour training camp, with the first warm-up game in Fatullah scheduled for less than two weeks’ time - but Lehmann says fitness is no concern.

“Until you get there you don’t know,” Lehmann told of fears that his side could be undercooked.

“We’re squeezing enough in this next week, and guys have been doing stuff with their states.

“Even through the MOU [negotiations] they were training and preparing as though they were playing.

“So in terms of fitness, they are probably ahead of the game, they’re really strong and fit which is really pleasing. Now it’s just getting their skills up to the required level before we leave.”

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Australia have won just two Tests in Asia since a 2-0 series victory in Bangladesh over a decade ago and suffered a whitewash in Sri Lanka last year.

However, Lehmann believes the side’s preparations this time around will help them break their sub-continent funk.

“The NTCA have been fantastic, they’ve made wickets very similar to what we’ll get in Bangladesh – they’re low and they’re slow, and they will spin,” Lehmann said.

“There’s three wicket blocks that are more like Dhaka, three wickets that are a bit like Chittagong and centre wicket facilities so we can play a match and work on our fielding.

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“We’ve got enough sessions in place, and then we’ve got enough time when we get there, weather permitting.

“I think we’ll be fine, we’ve got a two-day game which is a mixture of players, the wicket will be very similar to what we encounter for the first Test then we’ve got training sessions before that Test starts as well.

“We’re squashing a lot into the eight or nine days before we go to Dhaka, then we just have to see what the weather and the facilities are like when we get there.”

First Published: Aug 10, 2017 19:20 IST