Bangladesh v Australia, 2006 June 8, 2005

Australia's itinerary in Bangladesh announced


World champions Australia will play two Test matches and three one-day internationals on their tour next year of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh board announced in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Australia will arrive in the country on April 6 and play their first Test at Dhaka on April 9, according to an itinerary released by the BCB. The second Test will begin at Chittagong on April 16.

The opening one-dayer will he at Chittagong on April 23, followed by matches on April 26 and 28 in Dhaka. Australia have so far played just two Tests against minnows Bangladesh, winning both of them by an innings at home in 2003. Bangladesh have won just one of their 38 matches since gaining Test status in 2000, their lone victory coming against fellow-strugglers Zimbabwe at home last year. They have lost 33 Tests and drawn four.

Bangladesh were under fire recently after tamely losing a two-Test series in England, with the former Australian captain and noted commentator Richie Benaud calling for them to be removed from Test cricket along with Zimbabwe. But the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland came to the defence of the struggling side, saying that a sport with only ten Test-playing nations could not afford to dump teams.

"They have (Test) status," Sutherland said, "and we have commitments under the future tour programmes to play against those countries."