Bangladesh lead the series 1-0 © Getty Images
Bangladesh lead the series 1-0 © Getty Images

There is no doubt that Australia are one of the strongest contenders, and are known for staging remarkable comebacks. That is until they are not playing on rank-turners, against quality spinners. This weakness cost Australia the first Test, which they almost had their control over till the third day.

The second and last Test will be Australia’s chance to save the series, while Bangladesh can create history, winning their first-ever series against the visitors.

Gone are the days when Bangladesh were ‘minnows’. “We always focus in on the tour that we’re playing in. At times you also have to look a bit to the future and look at guys that we think can play a role. I don’t think at any point we really said that we weren’t concentrating on this tour. I don’t think that was ever the case,” said Smith about playing with Bangladesh, rubbishing all the allegations of being complacent.

To say, the term ‘minnow’ nowadays vary depending upon the venue. Bangladesh have not been very comfortable against the Australian pacers. It has been raining in Chittagong continuously, which will not be very favourable for the spinners, while the pacers might find the damp pitch and windy conditions handy. Given the present conditions and Australia’s never-say-die spirit, the final Test of the tour can expected to be a competitive one.

Bangladesh themselves invited some of their own problems. Imrul Kayes, who has served as a potential, consistent opener, was sent to No. 3 in the first Test, despite Mominul Haque being available in the squad. Another problem is the form of Soumya Sarkar. Though it will not be just to take a call on a player’s form, but the series consists of only two Tests, which means every opener gets four innings maximum to perform. Sarkar failed in the first two. With both Sarkar and Kayes failing to perform at the top, a lot of pressure came on the middle-order.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have to be the key players for Bangladesh. Both, playing their 50th Test, put in all their experience to contribute towards the hard-earned victory. The wickets of these two must be Australia’s bird’s eye. Also, Shakib, the top-ranked all-rounder, leads the hosts’ spin attack.

As for Australia, the challenge will be to survive longer on the pitch during the last three day. The top-order batsmen will have to provide the team with solid start, not losing wickets within the first 10 overs. Skipper Steven Smith’s wicket will be precious to them, provided his consistency.

The early overs will be a game-changer for the Australia pacers. They had twice unsettled the Bangladesh batting in the previous match and restricting them within a gettable total will be their aim once again. Nathan Lyon will play an important role, as all the conditions seem to be favourable for him.

Squads:

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matthew Renshaw, Matthew Wade