India will be looking for another all-round performance in Mirpur to seal the series 2-0 and strengthen their chances of reaching the World Test Championship final. They crushed the home team in Chattogram, with one or the other stepping up to put them in front while outplaying them at key moments.
Cheteshwar Pujara played two fine innings while Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin also did their bit with the bat. Kuldeep Yadav took important wickets of Mohammad Siraj in the first innings and Akshar Patel in the second innings. The Chattogram pitch eased after a difficult first day and became an excellent batting pitch, testing the bowlers’ stamina and perseverance. The Shere Bangla National Stadium, however, is known for its fiery turners, and may demand a different set of skills, particularly from batsmen.
India’s bowling will be very useful here. Siraj may get some lateral movement but the workload may fall on Ashwin, Kuldeep and Akshar. Where he had to bowl long spells in Chattogram, he can expect a little more help here.
Bangladesh has a tough task ahead. Many believe that their biggest challenge is motivating themselves to be more consistent, but Chattogram certainly had moments when they fell behind India in the technical and tactical departments as well. Players like Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim will have to pull them out of this quagmire. Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hossain Shanto will look to follow their good work from Chattogram as well, with the former likely to come up with new plans for India, having scored a century on debut.
Whichever way it goes, expect a fast-paced contest with wickets falling in clusters at Mirpur.
Bangladesh LLLLD (Last five Tests, Most recent first)
in the headlines
He doesn’t play often, but on a Chattogram pitch that offers slower pace, Kuldeep Yadav Was a handful in his first Test almost two years later. He ran through Bangladesh’s middle order and took 5 for 40 in the first innings, and played a vital supporting role by taking three more wickets in the second. Kuldeep is expected to come into play even more in Mirpur, where the ball also stays low, especially with his ability to subtly change the trajectory. Another advantage of Kuldeep is that even in the nets, Bangladesh batsmen are unable to practice against left-arm wrist spin.
Taskin Ahmed could come in place of Ebadot Hossain, who is ruled out with a back injury. No other changes expected, Shakib is set to bowl.
Bangladesh (Probable): 1 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 2 Zakir Hasan, 3 Yasir Ali, 4 Liton Das, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (c), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraj, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Khalid Ahmed
India (Probable): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 KL Rahul (captain)/Abhimanyu Easwaran, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Shreyas Iyer, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Mohd. Siraj
pitch and terms
The Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch will assist the spinners for most of the Test, with run-scoring likely to be easiest on the first day. Expect the team that wins the toss to bat first, and avoid batting in the fourth innings. The weather is expected to remain dry.
statistics and general knowledge
- Zakir Hasan is the ninth batsman to score a Debut Test century in fourth innings, Interestingly, the previous batsman to achieve this feat, Kyle Mayers, also did it in Chattogram.
- Cheteshwar Pujara is 16 runs away from becoming Eighth Indian batsman to reach 7000 points in test cricket.
- If Akshar Patel gets six wickets then he will become Joint 4th fastest bowler to 50 in Tests, getting there in eight matches. Fred Spofforth, Alf Valentine, Rodney Hogg and Terry Alderman also reached the landmark in their eighth Tests. Vernon Philander and Tom Richardson got there in seven Tests, while Charles ‘The Terror’ Turner needed only six Tests to take 50 wickets.
“Any selectors here? (Laughs) If I’m talking outside the room for a bit, it will be the same three spinners welcoming Taskin. Khalid too. Sorry to the selectors, but I’m talking outside the room. Hm. Bit. I can see that happening. The good news is Shakib is ready to go. Looking at the pitch, I think he will come into play.
Bangladesh fast bowling coach allen donald spills the beans on their combination
“This wicket, even in ODIs, we could see that it had more help for the bowlers, it had more pace. I am sure this game will be decided. It’s time to play a good game and win it.” Looking forward to it.”
India’s batting coach Vikram Rathore
,GMT 0520 The preview was updated after Allan Donald suggested Shakib should be fit to bowl.
,GMT 0850 The preview has been modified to reflect the news of KL Rahul getting hit in the nets.
Mohammad Issam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84