Cricket Australia and the Australia players put their differences aside following a tumultuous dispute over contracts to ensure the Baggy Greens’ will compete for the Ashes later this year.
The two parties had been involved in a bitter battle of words, with barbs exchanged from both sides. However, the deal has been struck and now Steve Smith can begin preparing his side for the challenge of facing England on home soil in an attempt to win back the urn.
Australia first travel to take on Bangladesh in a two-match Test series; and the Tigers will pose questions of the Baggy Greens, with the team not being the pushovers they once were.
England were troubled by Bangladesh’s spinners in their series on tour last year and the Three Lions were unable to secure a series victory, drawing 1-1 with the home side. As a result, the Aussies will need to be at their best on turning tracks to deliver a confidence-boosting outcome.
Smith’s men are backed in the latest cricket betting odds at 2/5 to triumph, but their success is far from guaranteed given their recent performances in Asia.
Australia have lost on their last three trips to the sub-continent, beginning with their defeat to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 2014. Few teams have success playing the Green Shirts in the UAE and the Baggy Greens were no different under the leadership of Michael Clarke, suffering two heavy defeats.
Their fortunes did not change under the tenure of Smith last year when the Baggy Greens travelled to Sri Lanka. Australia had won their first three series under the 28-year-old’s captaincy, but they were absolutely hammered by the Lions, failing to cope with the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath.
Herath took 28 wickets to confound the Aussie batsmen, with the smallest margin of defeat for the tourists a 106-run loss in Kandy in the opener, highlighting Sri Lanka’s dominance.
Source: FoxCricketLive via Twitter
The Baggy Greens had a point to prove in India and produced a brilliant performance in the first Test in Pune as Steve O’Keefe guided his side to a 333-run victory, taking 12-70 in the contest.
Nathan Lyon put Virat Kohli’s men well and truly on the back foot by taking 8-50 in the second Test, putting Australia in a match-winning position. However, a second-innings’ collapse caused by Ravichandran Ashwin allowed India to level the series.
From that point, the Baggy Greens were on the back foot but did show resolve to avoid defeat in the third Test. However, Smith’s men were eventually condemned to a series loss in the final Test, falling to an eight-wicket defeat in Dharamsala as Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja loomed large.
Bangladesh don’t quite have the same calibre of bowlers as India, although Mehedi Hasan had England rocking in the second Test in Mirpur, leading to the Tigers’ 108-run triumph. He took 12 wickets in the match for the cost of 159 runs, should Australia fail to adjust to his quality then they could be a world of trouble.
Their batting unit outside of Steve Smith and David Warner lacks experience, especially in turning conditions. Even Warner struggled against the spin in Sri Lanka and India, meaning that the fortunes of the Aussies could once again rest on the shoulders of their captain.
Talk Cricket all day every day in our forums