Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman has been making the touring Australians’ life difficult at the wicket through his slow balls, their left-arm spinner Ashton Agar admitted on Thursday.
“He (Mustafizur) is a difficult customer. He is really good. His ability to bowl that slower ball (is very good). If you watch it in slow motion, (you will see) he pretty much does it with his wrist and his fingers. It's incredible, incredible skill. Amazing revolution,” Agar told reporters on the left-arm pacer.
Bangladeshi batters later successfully chased down the target with eight balls in hand to go 2-0 up in the five-match T20I series and they will be eyeing to complete the series victory today and taste their maiden series win against the Aussies in any format.
Although the Aussies had struggled against the Bangladeshi spinners most in a typically slow and low Mirpur wicket, they also found difficulty against in-form Mustafizur, who demonstrated all the variations in his stock in both the matches.
The 25-year old, who claimed 2-16 in the first match in which Bangladesh bowled out the visitors for just 108 runs to notch a 23-run win, troubled the Aussies most in the second match.
Mustafizur got rid of opener Josh Philippe with a slower delivery while he did the same towards their skipper Matthew Wade before deceiving Agar with a slow bouncer that took the left-hander completely by surprise and leading him to edge it back to Nurul Hasan.
“It’s a great slower ball as well because it’s not too slow and it’s got a lot of revolution. It might kick quite a bit off the surface, it might go low, might not or it might spin a lot,” said Agar.
Moises Henriques, Mustafizur’s former teammate at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, was also awestruck with his bowling effort and also credited for his effort after the match.
“Mustafiz tonight (Wednesday) showed how quickly he adapts. I think he bowled 23 or 24 slower balls and didn’t bowl any more balls with pace on,” said Henriques, who made 30 off 25 balls in that match.
“He doesn’t do that when he plays in the IPL …it’s probably half-half. He summed up the conditions really well tonight, credit to him. His slower ball even on a good wicket is hard to play, let alone on something like that,” he added.
Australia have found their back against the wall after losing two consecutive games against the hosts and they now need to win all three remaining matches in order to win the series.
While a much-relaxed Bangladesh opted for a rest after the back-to-back matches in successive days, Australians sweated hard in Mirpur to prepare themselves ahead of the crucial encounter of the series.
The Aussies had an extensive batting session against the spin at the National Cricket Academy nets on Thursday under the supervision of their head coach Justin Langer with most of the players attending the practice session.
Agar, who is yet to make his mark in the series, claiming only one wicket in two games, also hinted that they may add more spin options during the third game of the series.
“Definitely it’s an option. We have got a couple of spinners waiting at the bench at the moment – Mitch Swepson and Tanveer Sangha and obviously, Ashton Turner hasn’t been bowled in the T20s but he bowled quite well in the West Indies,” he said, adding that they will try to take the match as deep as possible with wickets in hand.
“I think taking the game as deep as possible and going to the back end of the innings with wickets in hand (will be our plan). I think that seems the best way to go about it. Really a tough wicket to take a lot of risks...,” he added.