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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Australia's Steve Smith to consider three-pronged spin attack for next cricket Test against Bangladesh

Captain may drop wicketkeeper Wade after failure with bat in recent times.

Nathan Lyon, centre, is likely to lead a stronger spin attack for the second Test. AM Ahad / AP Photo
Nathan Lyon, centre, is likely to lead a stronger spin attack for the second Test. AM Ahad / AP Photo

Australia captain Steve Smith said on Sunday he was considering fielding three spinners in the must-win Test against Bangladesh after their shock loss on a turning wicket in the series opener.

Australia suffered their first-ever Test defeat against Bangladesh last week and are desperate to restore some lost pride when the teams meet in the second and final Test starting in Chittagong on Monday.

Bangladesh, ranked ninth in the ICC Test rankings to Australia's fourth, are hoping to shed their underdog status with a series sweep against Smith's men.

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Overcoming the home team's spinners is one of Australia's biggest challenges.

All but one of Australia's 20 wickets in the series opener fell to spin, and the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium pitch in Chittagong is expected to favour slow bowling.

Australia have recalled left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe for the injured Josh Hazlewood and could play him alongside their frontline spinners Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar.

Smith said no final decisions had been made, with rain interrupting their last training session on Sunday and preventing an inspection of the wicket. But the captain hinted at fielding a spin attack.

Also read: Lehmann expects strong response from Australia after Dhaka defeat

"I think the inclusion of O'Keefe into the squad is a good one. It gives us the option to play three spinners if we like," Smith said in Chittagong.

"Obviously Bangladesh did that against us last week. If the wicket is spinning it's really a good option and there is a possibility we go on with that."

Australia, who risk dropping to sixth in Test rankings if they lose the second Test, have been accused by home media of failing to give Bangladesh proper respect after their defeat, with selectors criticised for picking a "project" player in Agar.

Smith was also questioned for saying before the series that Agar was picked in favour of the more senior O'Keefe because he was seen as a candidate to take on India in the subcontinent in four years.

"I was open about that," Smith said, defending his comments. "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."

Matthew Wade has struggled in Bangladesh. AM Ahad / AP Photo
Matthew Wade has struggled in Bangladesh. AM Ahad / AP Photo

Smith also said wicketkeeper Matthew Wade could be dropped after failing to do enough with the bat.

Wade managed nine runs from his two innings in Dhaka and also had a poor series with the bat against India in February and March.

Smith said it was possible selectors could elect to throw the gloves to batsman Peter Handscomb for the match starting on Monday.

"It certainly would be a tough call [on Wade]. I think when we are looking at Matty we just need a little bit more from him with the bat in particular," Smith said.

"And he knows this, he knows that he has to do a little bit better with the bat. And he's had those conversations. So it'll just depend which way we want to go on the balance of the team as well.

"[Handscomb] certainly has kept and we've seen him keep before and he's done a good job, so, if we go that way we are confident that he will do a good job," Smith added.

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said his men would go all out for another win against the former world No 1 Test side.

"There is no way we will play safe cricket. Whichever team we play now, we play against them for win. We will do whatever it takes us for making it 2-0," Mushfiqur said.

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