After the long-running contract dispute was resolved, Australia finally got to play cricket…and it didn’t end well.
In what should have been an Ashes warm up for the visitors, Bangladesh won the first Test at Mirpur by 20 runs.
Australia’s biggest problem was their inability to conquer the spinners – the same issue the hurt them in Sri Lanka last year and India earlier this year. The only real positives were David Warner’s second innings hundred and Nathan “Nice Garry/The GOAT” Lyon taking his 250th Test wicket.
Batting first, Bangladesh made 260 in 80 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 84, Tamim Iqbal 71). The Aussie spinners Ashton Agar (3/46) and Nathan Lyon (3/79) took six between them, while Pat Cummins took 3/63. A decent start to day one was ruined by a late batting collapse, with Australia losing 3/18.
After captain Steve Smith fell early on day two, the ever-reliable Matt Renshaw (45) and Peter Handscomb (33) complied 69 before another collapse. Agar’s 41 not out cut the deficit to 43 as Australia were dismissed for 217. Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan took 5/68 for the Tigers.
Iqbal (78) and Mushfiqur Rahim (41) helped Bangladesh to 221 in 80 overs, with Lyon taking 6/82. Josh Hazlewood only bowled four overs before succumbing to injury.
Needing 265, Warner complied 130 with Smith (37) for the third wicket, giving Australia hope of a comeback win. Hope was all they had, losing 8/86 and dismissed for 244. They only got that close thanks to Cummins’ 33 not out. Al Hasan (5/85) finished with ten wickets.
Not surprisingly, angry Aussie fans took their frustration out on Glenn Maxwell, who lost his second innings wicket at a crucial time.
Bangladesh deserve congratulating. After almost endless struggles, they’re finally playing competitive cricket, which is great to see.
So where did it all go wrong for Australia? Did the contract distraction and uncertainty affect the players? Publicly they’ll deny it, but it had to have a mental impact. Luckily, Australia have another Test to turn it around and prepare for the Ashes.
To make Aussie fans feel better, England just lost to the West Indies.