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Underdone Aussies forced to cancel tour match before Bangladesh Test

Cricket

Australia will head into Sunday’s first Test in Bangladesh underdone and potentially ripe for the picking after their tour match was cancelled.

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Steve Smith’s men had been due to play a two-day tour match at Fatullah, on the outskirts of Dhaka, starting today.

But coach Darren Lehmann confirmed yesterday the match will not go ahead after parts of the venue were flooded last week with contaminated water from nearby factories.

It means Australia will line up for their first Test on Bangladeshi soil since 2006 with only a three-day intra-squad game in Darwin under their belts.

Lehmann was part of a Cricket Australia contingent that inspected the ground yesterday morning.

“We’ve decided not to do the tour game now, which is obviously a shame for both sides,” he said.

“The Bangladesh Cricket Board have been fantastic in trying to get us a game, and obviously the amount of rain we’ve had can’t be helped.

“We looked at various facilities around Bangladesh and Dhaka especially… it’s a shame we’re not playing but we’ve got great (training) facilities here.”

There are obvious risks for Australia going in unprepared against Bangladesh, a dangerous team on home soil who drew their two-Test series with England 1-1 last year.

Teenage offspin prodigy Mehedi Hasan proved a major headache for the English batsmen during that tour, taking 19 wickets to be named man of the series.

If Australia are to fare better, they will need big performances from vice-captain David Warner and Usman Khawaja, who have each struggled on the subcontinent.

Warner spent limited time at the crease in Darwin after being struck in the neck by a Josh Hazlewood delivery on the second day of play.

Khawaja, who is expected to reclaim his No.3 spot after being overlooked during the tour of India earlier this year, has not played at any competitive level since the one-day series against Pakistan in January.

Opener Matt Renshaw and middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb both showed good signs during the tour of India this year but have had no other subcontinent Test experience.

“You’d love to have (the tour match), but at the end of the day we just can’t play on the grounds as such,” Lehmann said.

“That’s a challenge for us, to get ready.

“We’re ready to go, it’s just now a case of fine-tuning our skills in the nets available.”

The rain had cleared in recent days but returned yesterday, forcing the Aussies to wrap up their training session early.

-AAP 

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