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'We have the players to turn around difficult situations'

Say cheese: Mushfiqur Rahim and Steven Smith pose with the trophy Getty Images

Mushfiqur Rahim has said it will be hard to pick favourites ahead of the first Test in Mirpur, which begins on Sunday, with Bangladesh's home advantage evened out by Australia's recent positive results in the subcontinent.

Mirpur will be Bangladesh's first Test against Australia in 11 years, with no player in either squad having faced the other team. Australia have improved in subcontinental conditions since losing 3-0 to Sri Lanka last year, and competed tooth-and-nail in their last Test series in India, winning the first Test before eventually losing the four-Test series 2-1. Bangladesh, meanwhile, have taken steps in the right direction in the last two years, winning a home Test against England and then beating Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Mushfiqur said Bangladesh now had players capable of rescuing them from adverse situations, and that they wanted to prove this against Australia as well.

"It is hard to say who's favourites," Mushfiqur said. "We have more experience of these conditions than them, but they may also know how to play here. They won the first Test against India earlier this year. I think the two teams have 50-50 chance in this Test match. We have a relatively inexperienced bowling line-up than theirs. I think they have some experienced batsmen and bowlers.

"We have the belief that we have the players to turn around from a difficult situation. We have to start well since we are playing a Test after a gap, especially at home. It won't be easy playing against Australia who are a very professional side. We rarely get to play against such a top-quality side, so we want to make good use of this opportunity."

The weather, however, may have a big say in the Test match, particularly the rain that has been relentless in Bangladesh in the last two months. Mushfiqur said that the adverse weather might have made it difficult for the Mirpur curator to properly prepare the ground and pitches.

"It is hard to predict what will happen in the Mirpur pitch," he said. "The weather condition is quite different in this time of the year. But it is the same for both teams but we will have a better idea of what it will be like. How we apply ourselves will be more important.

"We can talk about the wicket at the end of the Test match. It was tough to prepare the wicket because of all the rain. The first innings will be crucial, whether we are batting or bowling."

Mushfiqur said Australia would know exactly what to expect at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, although he added that having their warm-up match washed out may have hampered their preparation.

"They would have got a better idea had they played the practice match. It is hard to understand how the centre wicket is going to behave by just doing nets. But the weather had the last word. They are a professional side so they know how to get the best out of training sessions."