Bangladesh to face stern Australia ~~Test~~

Published: Friday, April 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Fatullah:Test minnows Bangladesh face the unenviable task of trying to compete with the towering in-form Australians in a two-Test series.

Bangladesh, who have improved as a One-day side over the past few years but have yet to prove themselves as a Test team, take on a side fresh from a 3-0 Test series win in South Africa.

Australia are without Glenn McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz, Justin Langer and Shaun Tait but that should have little bearing on the outcome of the series.

"We are here to play our best Test cricket. Things have been going according to plan for us in the past few weeks and we will try to freshen up and get our focus back," Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting said here on Friday.

Bangladesh will try to take inspiration from their shock victory over Australia in a One-day series in England last year, but to translate that success into the longer version of the game is improbable considering their limited resources.

"I am sure the exposure they have had against some top teams would have helped them but we don't want to bother about what they are capable of and want to focus on what we can do," said Ponting.

"There is more luck involved in the One-day game than in Test cricket."

Ponting, who had been quoted as saying earlier this year that teams like Bangladesh did not deserve to play Test cricket, said he had made the comments without looking at it with proper perspective.

"I probably said so without looking at the broader aspect. Bangladesh have improved as a One-day side due to exposure and I guess that is why they are playing Test cricket," he said.

Bangladesh, whose solitary win in 42 Tests came against a depleted Zimbabwe team last year, are hoping to improve their show after having lost both their previous Tests to Australia by innings margins in an away series.

"They are the world's top team while ours is a team still in the learning process. But it has been three years since we played that Test series and I think we have improved a little," said Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore.

"They will be playing in our conditions and we will go out there and try to compete knowing that we have played some good teams and have begun to fight it out in Tests," added the former Aussie Test player.

The second Test will be played in the eastern port city of Chittagong from April 16 and will be followed by a three-match One-day series.

The teams (from):

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Khaled Mashud, Javed Omar, Rajin Saleh, Mohammad Ashraful, Shahriar Nafees, Nafees Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Mohammad Rafique, Enamul Haque, Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Phil Jacques, Damien Martyn, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark.

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