Steven Smith takes sly dig at Bangladesh over clean sweep remarks
What's the story?
Australian skipper Steven Smith served a gentle reminder to Bangladesh ahead of the opening Test of the two-match series which begins on Sunday by refuting Shakib Al Hasan's remarks that the hosts are targeting a 2-0 clean sweep.
When asked by reporters in the pre-match press conference as to what he thought of the Bangladesh all-rounders comments, Smith chose to remind their opponents of their not so impressive record in Test record despite the improvement in performances.
Smith, however, admitted that he was expecting a tough challenge against a Bangladesh side playing in their own backyard.
"That's pretty confident. I think Bangladesh have only won nine of 100 games," Smith said. "It's very confident. They're obviously confident in their skill set at the moment. They're at home, most teams play well at home. It’s going to be a good challenge for us."
The mood is positive in the Bangladesh team camp as they feel that they have a good chance against Steven Smith's side in what will be the first Test meeting between the two sides since 2006.
The Tigers are a much-improved side though at the moment and boasts of victories over England at home and Sri Lanka away as proof of their growing stature in international cricket in the longer format of the game.
While Bangladesh opener and vice-captain Tamim Iqbal cautioned the side that depending on spin alone would not do the trick for the hosts, Shakib Al Hasan was bullish in his view that Bangladesh had the necessary quality to win both Tests against the tourists.
The Australian skipper however shot down the suggestion and pointed to the fact none of the present Bangladesh players have faced Australia before in Test cricket.
Smith will be hoping to exploit that inexperience and also learn from their shortcomings in India where they gave a good account of themselves against Virat Kohli's side in a closely-fought series that they narrowly lost out 2-1.
Smith is wary of what to expect in the sub continent conditions and has already laid out his plan by naming the Australian playing XI for the first Test which sees Ashton Agar returning to the squad after a gap of four years to partner Nathan Lyon.
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 five ODIs and three T20Is.
Australian skippers over the years have never shied away from making their thoughts known on the opposition as part of the mind games ahead of a series and there was no way Steven Smith was going to let Shakib al Hasan's remarks unanswered.
One can expect the two-match Test series to be a good contest but it will be a big surprise if Bangladesh do come out on top against Steven Smith's side.