Bangladesh vs Australia: Steve Smith confirms Ashton Agar's return to Test side after four years

Agar made a sensational debut to Test cricket in 2013, scoring 98 runs in his maiden innings batting at number 11 against England at Nottingham.

AFP, Aug,26 2017

Dhaka: Australian captain Steven Smith confirmed Ashton Agar will play his first Test in four years when the two-Test series against Bangladesh begins in Dhaka on Sunday.

Agar made a sensational debut to Test cricket in 2013, scoring 98 runs in his maiden innings batting at number 11 against England at Nottingham.

But since then the 23-year-old has made only one further Test appearance, and has been hungry for a return to the long format of the game.

Ashton Agar during a practice session ahead of Australia's first Test against Bangladesh. AFP

Ashton Agar during a practice session ahead of Australia's first Test against Bangladesh. AFP

It was not until his impressive form in the Sheffield Shield this season — he claimed 16 wickets and scored 115 runs in four innings for Western Australia — that he caught the eye of the selectors again.

He was picked for Australia's two-Test tour of Bangladesh ahead of left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe, whose 12-wicket haul against India earlier this year helped Australia win the first Test of that series.

Agar will partner with off-spinner Nathan Lyon on a supposedly spin friendly wicket at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, where Australia will make their first Test appearance against Bangladesh in 11 years.

Australia have not toured Bangladesh since 2006 and this series has been long in the making.

Smith expressed his hope it would be an exciting series and give them a reality check after their tour of India.

"I think it's going to be a great series. It's a great challenge for my group of players to see what we have learned from India," Smith said in Dhaka.

"Looking at the wicket I think it's going to be somewhat similar to what we got in India. Hopefully we can learn from what we did there."

Australia visited India in February-March for four Test matches and despite a 2-1 loss Smith's men were praised for putting up a good show.

Smith led his side from the front scoring three centuries to become the highest run-getter in the series with 499 runs at an average of 71.28.

Smith said he was surprised by the recent comments of Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who both expressed their hopes of winning the series 2-0.

"It's pretty confident, isn't it?" said Smith.

"I think Bangladesh have won only nine out of their 100 games. So it's a very confident prediction.

"But obviously they are confident about their skill set at the moment. Most teams play pretty well at home. The comment surprised me a little bit, yes," he said.

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said his team has enough resources to win the series.

"Cricket is all about winning the match," said Rahim.

"You all know that we have been very consistent in the last series as well as in the last two years in our home condition. I think everyone is talking about winning the series because of that belief," he said.

The second Test will be held in Chittagong from 4-8 September.

Australia squad for first Test: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon

Published Date: Aug 26, 2017 | Updated Date: Aug 26, 2017




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5313 121
2 South Africa 4484 115
3 Australia 4174 104
4 New Zealand 3489 100
5 England 4829 99
6 Sri Lanka 4374 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 7594 122
2 South Africa 6911 117
3 England 6871 116
4 New Zealand 6550 115
5 Australia 6376 112
6 Pakistan 4877 96
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3272 126
2 Australia 2345 123
3 India 3385 121
4 New Zealand 2878 120
5 West Indies 2538 115
6 South Africa 2238 112