Australia consider using three spinners in Chittagong Test against Bangladesh | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Australia consider using three spinners in Chittagong Test against Bangladesh

Australia skipper Steve Smith said that they are open to the prospect of using three spin options in the final Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

cricket Updated: Aug 31, 2017 16:45 IST
Bangladesh vs Australia,Peter Handscomb,Allan Border
Australia's Nathan Lyon, second right, celebrates with teammates during the first Test against Bangladesh.(AP)

Former Australia cricket team skipper Allan Border has suggested that wicketkeeper Matthew Wade can make way for Peter Handscomb in the second Test of the ongoing series against Bangladesh, thus opening up a spot for an additional player in the side. Australia lost the first Test by 20 runs on Wednesday and must win the next Test to level the two-match series.

“I think Matty Wade’s position in the side is another question mark,” Border told Fox Sports News. “He really struggled behind the stumps, which is his key role, and again with the bat. So they may look at putting Handscomb in as the wicketkeeper and playing an extra batsman.”

“I thought (Wade’s) keeping was improving, but once you go to the subcontinent you really test your skills out there. It’s difficult, but 30 byes in that last Test match was pretty telling, wasn’t it? He’s not producing enough runs with the bat to compensate for the keeping. So he’s the one under the most pressure,” he added.

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Matthew Wade had scored just nine runs in two innings besides giving away 30 byes in the Test, which seems to have been extremely crucial given the victory margin. However, to his defence, Mushfiqur Rahim, the experience Bangladesh skipper also had 22 byes against his name.

It was a difficult surface to bat on and as it had tested the skills of the batsmen and it did the same for players behind the wicket. The total of 52 byes was the highest conceded in a Test in more than a century amongst Tests that had less than 350 overs of play.

Border refused to name Handscomb as a long-term solution but wanted him to fit in only as a stop-gap role. But if Handscomb is made to do the duty behind the wicket, it might also give Steve Smith an option to rope in an extra bowler given the kind of turn and variable bounce the pitch had provided in the first test. Josh Hazlewood is injured and Steve O’Keefe may get a chance to try and pose a threat for Bangladesh.

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Last year in Pune, when the Australians toured India, O’Keefe had produced match figures of 12/70 to stop the hosts’ juggernaut and win the first Test. Although they went on to lose the series, but O’Keefe had proved his worth in sub-continental conditions.

Smith, thus, might just opt for the gamble given that spinner picked up 34 of the 40 wickets that fell in the first Test. For the record, it would be the first time in around 40 years that an Australian side would field a playing XI with just one recognized fast bowler (Pat Cummins).

Smith, however, said he would give it a thought after having a look at the pitch.

“We’ve got the options to do what we want to do in the second Test match,” Smith said. “In the end it’s up to the selectors which way they want to go. If the wicket suits, yeah (we’re comfortable with just one paceman). If it’s a similar-looking wicket to (Dhaka) then it’s certainly a possibility. “We’ll have to wait and see when we get to Chittagong what the wicket’s like and make an assessment then.”

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 13:42 IST