(Reuters) - Australia must address their tendency to collapse before this year’s Ashes series against England, skipper Steve Smith said after his team levelled their two-test series against Bangladesh on Thursday.
Humbled inside four days in the series opener in Dhaka, Australia romped to a seven-wicket victory in Chittagong, but not before another mini-collapse in their chase of a paltry 86-run victory target.
Openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw, as well as Smith, perished before Australia reached 50, though Glenn Maxwell scored a breezy unbeaten 25 and sealed the victory with a six.
“Those batting collapses, they’ve become quite a regular occurrence for us,” Smith said after Australia slipped to fifth place in test rankings despite the win.
“It’s something we need to rectify. We get ourselves into good positions and then can’t go on with it. That’s something we have to fix.”
The series exposed Australia’s frailties against spin bowling. In Dhaka they lost 19 wickets to the Bangladesh spinners, with the other dismissal being a run-out.
On a brighter note for the tourists, Warner redeemed himself with back-to-back centuries, Nathan Lyon finished with 22 wickets — the highest by an Australian in a two-test series — and paceman Pat Cummins breathed fire even on docile tracks.
“I thought we played some good cricket at times in this test match. In the first innings ... to restrict them to what we did,” Smith said.
“I’m proud of the way the boys got over the line in the end to get the 1-1 draw.”
Counterpart Mushfiqur Rahim said that Bangladesh, who registered their first test win against Australia in Dhaka, would take heart from the drawn series ahead of their tour of South Africa.
“We will learn from this innings and hopefully in the next couple of years, if a similar situation comes, we’ll handle it better,” Mushfiqur said.
“Whether you win or lose, there are always areas to improve. It will be different conditions in South Africa. We have to come up with good plans and execute well.”
Lyon’s 13-wicket match haul earned him the man-of-the-match award and he shared man-of-the-series honours with Warner.
“We know we haven’t had the most success in the subcontinent, so it was important for us, as a young group, to come out and stand up in these conditions,” the off-spinner said.
“Bangladesh are a classy side, so to come up against them was a challenge for us.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by David Goodman