Ashton Agar, Usman Khawaja recalled as Australia name playing XI for Bangladesh Test
What's the story?
Staying true to their tradition of naming their playing XI well ahead of the day of the match, Australia has confirmed their team which will take on Bangladesh in the first of the two Tests which will begin on Sunday.
Usman Khawaja is set to play his first competitive game since January this year, while Ashton Agar has also been recalled to the side as expected and will play his first Test for four years when he takes to the field at Dhaka tomorrow.
The pair returns in place of Shaun Marsh and Stephen O'Keefe from Australia's side that faced India in their last outing in the Test format in March 2017.
AUSTRALIA XI: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Australia and Bangladesh are set to face off against each other in a bilateral series for the first time in nearly six years with the tour originally scheduled for October 2015 getting postponed following a terrorist attack in the capital city of Dhaka which claimed the lives of 20 foreign nationals.
The pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) had cast doubt on this tour as well but timely intervention meant that the two-Test series was finally given the all-clear.
Australia head into the series without playing any competitive match since landing in Bangladesh over a week ago as the only warm-up fixture was called off following a heavy downpour.
Australia's terrible record in the Indian subcontinent has meant that the Bangladesh camp is confident that they can give the visitors a run for their money with star all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan even claiming that the home side are targeting a clean sweep.
Steven Smith's side gave a good account of themselves against a strong Indian side in their own backyard earlier this year and are well prepared for the tour with the focus on spin as expected with Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar as the recognised spinners while Glenn Maxwell can also provide the cover with his off-spinners.
Bangladesh are expected to name their playing XI only tomorrow.
Bangladesh Test squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman
While the first Test will be played at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur starting tomorrow, the second Test will be played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong from September 4.
Australia will then head to India for a limited-overs series featuring 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
With spin expected to take centre stage during the Test series, Australia have done the right thing by including Ashton Agar in the playing XI alongside off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Bangladesh have improved vastly, especially on their own turf, and the series is expected to be a closely fought one.
Despite the optimism from the Bangladesh camp, it would still be a big upset if the hosts manage to come out on top against Steven Smith's side.