Australian captain Steve Smith said 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.
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 Sunday and preventing an inspection of the wicket. But the skipper hinted at fielding a spin attack.
“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 told reporters 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.”
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim said his men would go all out for another win against the former world number one 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.
Australia risk dropping to sixth in Test rankings if they lose the second Test.
Bangladesh came agonisingly close to beating England in Chittagong last year when they needed 33 runs on the fifth day with two wickets in hand.
Ben Stokes took the last two wickets to win the match for England but Bangladesh won the second match to tie the series.
The only two times Bangladesh have swept a series were against an under-strength West Indies side in 2009 and against a struggling Zimbabwe in 2014.