Bangladesh tour a potential banana skin for Aussies
UNDERESTIMATING Bangladesh could cost Australia dearly later this month.
Steve Smith's men could fall as low as seventh if they lose both Tests in their two-match tour of Bangladesh.
And that's not as unthinkable as it was just a few years ago. Just ask England.
The Tigers defeated England by 108 runs in October last year and came within 23 runs of dealing the tourists a 2-0 series whitewash.
Mushfiqur Rahim's side looked to be on the cusp of chasing down a target of 286 to win the first Test of the series, fighting their way to 5-227 and then 8-263 before Ben Stokes saved the day for England with two wickets in two balls.
A 2-0 loss to Bangladesh would see Australia slip from a rating of 100 to 92 points, which would place it anywhere between fifth and seventh on the Test rankings.
It should be noted that Australia can only fall to seventh if Sri Lanka manages to win its final Test against India.
The Australians currently sit fourth.
A 1-0 loss would see Australia drop to 94 points and slip to fifth behind New Zealand and a drawn series would also see Australia finish the campaign fifth on 97 points.
Conversely a 2-0 win for Australia would only garner one point for the side - rating points are weighted, hence victories against lower ranked sides are worth little but losses are costly.
It's possible that would be enough to lift Australia back above England to third on the rankings but that would require Joe Root's side losing its upcoming three-match series against the West Indies.
Bangladesh's victory in the second Test was its first ever against a country other than the West Indies and Zimbabwe but the performance was not an outlier.
The side has not lost a Test series at home in more than two years, drawing three - one each against South Africa, India and England - since suffering a 1-0 loss to Pakistan in April, 2015.
And the Tigers have continued to impress since that victory.
Although they followed up the win with four losses on the bounce in New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka, they pulled off something Australia could not just seven months earlier.
They won a Test in Sri Lanka, drawing a two-match series 1-1.
Make no mistake, this series could be a major banana skin for the Australians.