Cricket

Aussies may fight spin with more spin in series finale

Australia admit they could have considered matching Bangladesh’s all-out spin strategy while the series was still alive after their first win of the tour coincided with them bowling their equal-most amount of spin in single T20 International.

Mitchell Swepson earnt player-of-the-match honours in his first game of the tour, taking 3-12 off four overs as Bangladesh were restricted to just 9-104, their lowest total of an already unusually low-scoring series in Dhaka.

Swepson had come in at the expense of limited-overs mainstay and wrist-spinner Adam Zampa, who was rested, with the Queenslander suggesting the Aussies should weigh up fielding both leggies alongside spinning allrounder Ashton Agar in Monday’s series finale.

“I definitely think it is something that should be considered,” said Swepson.

“We’ve seen them play three spinners and bowl a lot of spin overs, so it’s a tactic that has worked for them on this wicket.

“I might be a bit biased here, but I think it’s definitely something that could work for us as well. Fingers crossed that might eventuate.”

Both sides have found batting extremely difficult on the slow, turning pitches but Australia had undoubtedly struggled more during three consecutive defeats to begin the tour against what is essentially a four-pronged Bangladesh spin attack.

The hosts’ three tweakers have bowled over half their overs in all four games, while the rubber-wristed Mustafizur Rahman, who has seven wickets at 8.14 and at astonishing economy rate of 3.56 for the series, is essentially operating as a fast spinner. Dan Christian likened Mustafizur’s unique blend of fast cutters to facing a quicker version of Rashid Khan.

Batting allrounder Ashton Turner bowled his full complement of overs for the first time in a T20 in four-and-a-half years during Australia’s three-wicket win on Saturday, with him, Swepson and Ashton Agar taking 4-56 from their 12 combined overs.

It was just the second time in 145 T20 Internationals that Australia have bowled that many overs of spin. Nathan Lyon, D’Arcy Short and Adam Zampa combined to bowl 12 overs in 2018 match against Pakistan in Dubai, coincidentally one of the venues for this year’s T20 World Cup.

“Hindsight is a beautiful thing and the strategy worked for us last night,” said Swepson.

Ashton Turner was able to bowl his four allotted overs as well so that meant we got 12 overs of spin.

“(Three spinners) is definitely something I think is being considered given we had success with it last night and maybe something we could have done earlier.

“But different game scenarios bring different results – as I said, hindsight is a beautiful thing, you never know what the results would have been if we did have those extra overs of spin.

“It just seemed to work for us last night and potentially something we’ll do going forward.

Swepson, who played a solitary game during the preceding tour of the West Indies, has had to balance trying to impress in the nets while also ensuring a neck injury he suffered last summer as a result of over-bowling does not flare up again.

While the 27-year-old said the injury has not affected him at all during the tour, he is continuing to be mindful of sending down too many overs at training.

It is a juggling act given he is eager to solidify a berth at this year’s T20 World Cup as well as in the Test squad as Nathan Lyon’s understudy for the Vodafone Ashes.

“It can be frustrating at times because I want to be out there playing,” said Swepson, who capped off one of the finest individual Sheffield Shield seasons by a slow bowler in recent memory as Queensland won the title in April.

“At the same time you need opportunities and you need a chance to play. Luckily enough last night I grabbed mine pretty well. The more opportunities I get like that, I just have to keep pushing my case.

“I think I’m in a good position still. While I’m not considered the frontline spinner in either format, the fact I’m in both squads places me well to take an opportunity if it does come around.

“That’s really all I’ve done this whole tour and it’ll be the same thing if I’ve given the nod in a Test squad.”

Qantas Tour of Bangladesh 2021

Australia squad: Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (c), Adam Zampa. Travelling reserve: Tanveer Sangha.

Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah (c), Soumya Sarkar, Naim Sheikh, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Afif Hossain, Shamim Hossain, Shaif Uddin, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Taijul Islam, Musaddek Hossain Saikat, Rubel Hossain

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