After a hugely competitive and entertaining few weeks, Dhaka will play host to the final match in England’s tour of Bangladesh before they continue their mammoth winter tour onto India. Many have predicted England to struggle somewhat in India, who are now the number one-ranked Test side, but it would be wrong to undermine England’s efforts in Bangladesh.
First Test Review:
The Tigers looked set to continue their impressive home record in ODIs by winning their seventh series on the bounce in the past two years until a fine run chase by England earned them arguably their most impressive ODI result in the past eighteen months. England were supposedly promised an easier time in the Test arena as lack of game time has resulted in the Tigers turning to white-ball cricket for success.
However, Bangladesh caused trouble numerous times during the first Test match. In both innings England were reduced to 106-5 and 62-5, but thanks to excellent innings from Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes – they came through a scare to go 1-0 up in the two-match series. England’s top order failed once again and if Bangladesh can put a sizable total on the board, they will feel confident of putting real pressure on England’s middle order who came to the rescue during the first Test.
Naturally, Ben Duckett looked nervous in his debut Test, many thought Alastair Cook should have missed the first Test completely given the amount of experience he already has on the sub-continent and his family commitments. Joe Root looked as fluent as ever in the first-innings and Gary Ballance looked all at sea, as he has done ever since coming back into the side against Pakistan.
Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, and Gareth Batty failed to consistently build pressure with the ball as Gareth Batty’s first-innings economy rate of 3 an over was the best of any England spinner – Moeen Ali had the highest at 4.28 – although he produced a couple of beauties in the first innings. 18-year-old debutant, Mehedi Hasan, went at just 2 an over during his forty over spell as he picked up six wickets. The odd bad ball has to be expected from Adil Rashid due to the difficulty of his trade, but Ali and Batty have to provide an element of control. If Bangladesh were able to consistently put the bad ball away, then you have to expect India to never miss out.
England’s problems lie mostly with their top order. So naturally, changes will be made to their bowling attack. Zafar Ansari is set to make his debut on Friday as Alastair Cook yearned for more control and variety from his spinners during the first Test. Not only will Ansari look to offer more control, but he will provide a left-arm option, which is vitally important given the number of right-handers in India’s line-up – with Gareth Batty set to make way.
Stuart Broad will have to wait to receive his 100th cap as he looks set to make way for Steven Finn. The Middlesex paceman has been bowling quickly in the nets and will keep the seam attack fresh ahead of a long winter.
Many are calling for Gary Ballance to make way for Ben Duckett to bat at four, with Haseeb Hameed taking his natural opening role. However, Ansari and Finn will be England’s only changes as Trevor Bayliss has opted for a continuity policy regarding his top six.
It’s highly likely that Bangladesh’s whole team will be unchanged as they look to level the series after coming so close to securing a famous Test win. No doubt they will look to their spinners again to expose England’s vulnerable top order. Runs must come from their dangerous opening partnership of Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, with experienced batsmen Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim building the total. England will also be weary of Sabbir Rahman after his excellent second-innings almost got his team over the line, although he is a doubt with illness.
Doubt over Sabbir’s availability in Dhaka Test: Undoubtedly, Sabbir has played extremely well and kept alive … https://t.co/649xbTuh31
A single innings could not be completed during the last Test to be played at Dhaka against South Africa last year as rain washed out days two to five. Rain is also expected this time around, however, it should not decide the fate of the match. Not so unexpectedly, the pitch looks to be dry and Bangladesh will be tempted to produce a result pitch in order to level the series.
If the pitch is similar to Chittagong and given the nature of the series so far, it promises to be a grand finale to England’s tour.