Australian cricket player Usman Khawaja bats during a practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Australian cricket player Usman Khawaja bats during a practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A.M. Ahad

Slum visit hits Aussies hard ahead of first Test

THE Australian Test team, fresh from a bitter contract standoff, has prepared for tomorrow's first Test against Bangladesh by visiting slums in the capital Dhaka.

Members of Steve Smith's team linked up with the charity Oxfam to learn about the challenges of living in urban slums.

More than 130 people have been killed by floods in rural Bangladesh and many others have fled to the major cities, where basic resources such as clean drinking water are lacking in poorer areas.

Usman Khawaja, who is expected to reclaim his No.3 slot in Australia's top order, was deeply affected by the visit.

"Some of the kids and adults had amazing stories and have experienced really tough times growing up," Khawaja said.

"It really sinks in when you hear it first-hand."

The Aussies are looking for their first series victory on the sub-continent since beating Sri Lanka 1-0 in 2011.

But the Bangladeshi monsoon season looms as a potential spoiler.

The visitors' warm-up match was cancelled due to a waterlogged ground.

Rain and possible thunderstorms are forecast throughout the first Test.

 

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan bats against New Zealand during the ICC World Twenty20.
Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan bats against New Zealand during the ICC World Twenty20. Bikas Das

Khawaja said the Tigers had come a long way since Ricky Ponting's men won both Tests in 2006.

"They've got some really good spinners and they've got some really good batsmen," Khawaja said.

"They're not the Bangladesh team that people used to play against 10 years ago, they're actually a pretty decent side."

The 30-year-old Khawaja hopes to make an immediate impact after his near eight-month exile from any Australian side in any format.

Bangladesh's left-arm spinner and aggressive middle-order batsman Shakib Al Hasan said the Tigers expected to win both Tests.

"I don't see why it can't be possible," he said.

"I think our spin attack is better than them. I won't say in all conditions, but in our conditions we are better than them."

Shakib, off-spinner Mehedi Hasan and left-armer Taijul Islam took all 20 wickets when Bangladesh recorded its first-ever Test win over England by 108 runs in October.

The second Test of the series will be held in Chittagong from September 4-8.

News Corp Australia


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