Steve Smith seemed to be carrying the weight of the world when he walked into the media room of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium after yesterday's 20-run loss in the first Test. This tour was confirmed at the last moment because of a protracted pay dispute between Australian players and their cricket board, and now that they are here, they find themselves in a position where the best case scenario is a drawn series against a side everyone would have expected them to beat.
Particularly damaging to their confidence levels must be the fact that Australia's core group lost the battle against the stellar show put up by Bangladesh's core stars in Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Tamim had half-centuries in each innings, and Shakib added a 10-wicket match haul to his first innings 84, which was part of a 155-run fourth-wicket stand with Tamim. For Australia, veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked up eight wickets, including a first-innings five-for, while Smith and David Warner's 130-run stand yesterday nearly turned the match in their favour, but only nearly.
That the loss was painful was clear from the fact that it took three questions from local journalists to get the Australia skipper talking about the opposition.
“I think they're a dangerous side, particularly here at home as we've seen. They've just beaten us, they obviously beat England not too long ago, so they're a team that's confident in these conditions,” Smith said. “I thought that Tamim Iqbal looked very good at the top of the order. Shakib played particularly well in the first innings and bowled well in both innings as well, so their experienced players really stood up in this game for them.
“I thought around 180, 200 would have been a good total for us. In the first innings we weren't good enough with the bat to get in front of the game.”