On Thursday, Bangladesh will take on India in Hyderabad in a one-off Test Match. It has been a busy few months for the two sides, both in limited overs and the longer format of the game. Bangladesh recently toured New Zealand and were not able to record a win in their eight match tour. However, the Tigers still put in some valiant performances including an epic batting display in the First Test, featuring a magnificent double hundred from Shakib Al-Hasan.
Prior to that tour, Bangladesh hosted England in a two Test series and came from behind to draw the series 1-1. The home conditions played a huge role as the Bangladeshi spinners ripped through England. It is likely that the pitch in Hyderabad will offer some turn, meaning the conditions should be helpful to the visitors. They will be coming up against the Number One Test side and its going to be a tough ask for the touring side.
Bangladesh, however, will be boosted by the return of several players from injury. Their captain Mushfiqur Rahim has returned to the squad, along with experienced opener Imrul Kayes and Mominul Haque. Unfortunately, cunning fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman is still out with a hamstring injury and was not deemed match fit. This article looks at what side Bangladesh is likely to play, analysing their batting and bowling units.
Due to the return of Imrul Kayes, Bangladesh will be able to return their much favoured opening partnership of Kayes and Tamim Iqbal. This has been the first choice opening pair for many years now and both players are vastly experienced. However, Bangladesh have never played a Test match in India before and so they will need to adapt. In the World T20 last year, Iqbal looked in exceptional form in India, but the Test pitches are exceptionally different from the T20 ones.
In the on-going warm-up match, Soumya Sarkar walked in at three. Sarkar is an extremely versatile batsman who opened the batting in the Second Test in New Zealand. In that Test, the 23-year-old hit a splendid 86 at a strike rate of over 80. Prior to that Test, Sarkar had always batted much further down the order, usually batting at 6 or 7. His recent form has persuaded the selectors to give him a chance in the top order and it is likely he will be moved to three for the one-off Test.
Mominul Haque’s Test career has got off to a phenomenal start. The usual number three batsman has already registered an incredible 1,637 runs in just 20 matches. This has given him an impressive average of over 50, with the 25-year-old already having registered four hundreds. He was only able to play one match in New Zealand, due to injury, and scored a fifty in the first innings of the Wellington Test. However, Haque only managed five in the first innings of the warm-up match and looked uncomfortable in his 20 ball stay. Due to the promotion of Sarkar, Haque may have to find a new role down at number four.
It is hard to predict what Bangladesh’s squad composition will be like, but they are extremely lucky to have so many spin bowling all-rounders. Chances are that Bangladesh will only play one specialist spinner in Mehedi Hasan Miraz, and play a three man pace attack. Miraz, who is only 19, made his name as he led the rout of England in the Second Test. In that Test, Miraz picked up 12 wickets and England lost ten wickets in one session. Since he is still relatively new to Test cricket, India’s batsmen will need to be wary of him.
All-rounders Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmudullah are likely to assist Miraz in the spin department. Shakib made history in New Zealand, as he recorded the highest individual score by a Bangladeshi batsman in Test cricket as he smashed 217 in Wellington. His spin bowling is no less threatening. Al-Hasan has claimed over 450 wickets in international cricket and is famous for his incredible accuracy and discipline. Mahmudullah is an equally threatening bowler, although he mainly specialises in T20 cricket.
This spin trio tore England apart brutally and India need to be careful when playing them. On pitches suited to the spinners, these three bowlers hold the key to Bangladesh’s chances.
Bangladesh in India: Likely XI
- Tamim Iqbal
- Imrul Kayes
- Soumya Sarkar
- Mominul Haque
- Shakib Al-Hasan
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Mehedi Hasan Miraz
- Kamrul Islam Rabbi
- Taskin Ahmed
- Subashis Roy