Australian coach Darren Lehmann concedes his team faces a challenge in its preparation for the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Sunday in Dhaka after its only tour match was washed out.
The Australians were due to play a two-day match against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Fatullah on Tuesday and Wednesday but following an inspection on Monday, the venue was deemed unplayable after contaminated water flooded the ground in recent weeks.
The BCB are understood to have proposed alternative venues for the match, however Cricket Australia’s carefully planned security operations in the subcontinent made late rearrangement a difficult proposition.
Lehmann said it was a shame the tour match would not eventuate.
“The Bangladesh Cricket Board have been fantastic in trying to get us a game, and obviously the amount of rain they’ve had, that can’t be helped,” Lehmann said on Monday.
“[The] BCB and CA worked as hard as they could to try to get the game up.
“You’d love to have it, but at the end of the day, we just can’t play on the ground.
“[It’s] obviously a shame for both sides.
“That’s the challenge for us to get ready.”
Lehmann also said his thoughts were with members of the Bangladeshi public who had been affected by the monsoonal weather.
Captain Steve Smith had played down the importance of the tour match before the squad’s departure last week, which had followed a pre-tour camp in Darwin which included a three-day intra-squad match.
Lehmann said that despite the lack of match practice, the tourists were prepared to take on the Tigers, who have never beaten Australia in Test cricket. “You can’t control the weather,” he said.
“We’re ready to go, it’s just a case of fine-tuning our skills in the nets available and what we can get out of that.
“Fingers crossed we can get the ground up here and play a great Test series against a quality side at home.
“We’re pretty settled in where we want to go.”
The tourists had a lengthy net session on Sunday but their plans were halted by rain on Monday. Wet weather is forecast for all five days of the first Test.
Meanwhile Lehmann reiterated that Australia were likely to play two spinners in the first Test, although noted he hadn’t yet seen the pitch.
In the event Australia select two spinners, it is expected off-spinner Nathan Lyon will be accompanied by left-armer Ashton Agar, who got the nod for the tour ahead of Steve O’Keefe and Jon Holland. Uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is another option.
The second Test in Chittagong begins on September 4. The series marks Australia’s first international matches since the resolution of the pay dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association.
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