The odds are stacked against Bangladesh, going into the Test series against India, the No.1 ranked team in the world.
The Tigers played their first-ever Test against their neighbours at the turn of the millennium and 19 years and nine Tests since, they are still in search of their first win in the longest format against India.
This two-match Test series will kick-start Bangladesh’s Test championship campaign. On the other hand, India sit pretty at the top the table after five games with a remarkable tally of 240 points.
Here are the main talking points ahead of the game in Indore.
Battle of the spinners
Both teams have in their ranks two finger-spinners – albeit of different class.
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan and left-armer Taijul Islam average more than 50 away from home, while their counterparts Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are a devastating at home, picking up 249 wickets and 157 wickets respectively at averages below 25.
Islam and Mehidy Hasan will need to bowl long spells in the Test series, considering that their team’s pace attack pales in comparison to India’s.
On a pitch with a hint of grass, the home team will play three pacers and two spinners, a luxury the visitors cannot afford.
The deficiency in the pace attack and the importance of the Toss
Bangladesh’s squad contains four pacers in Abu Jayed, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain and Ebadot Hossain, who have picked a grand total of five wickets between them in Tests in 2019.
Their performances in domestic cricket have also been been below-par and this doesn’t bode well when they face up against the Indian top order.
India’ s three-pronged pace attack of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma is in red hot form. Umesh has the best strike-rate between them in Tests played at India, picking up 76 wickets in 25 matches. Shami has a healthy strike rate of 45, picking up 57 wickets in 13 Tests. Sharma is the leader of the pack and has bowled the maximum number of overs (229) by a fast bowler in India in the past two years.
Given their lack of firepower in the bowling department, Bangladesh will be hoping to bat first and get a decent first innings total to avoid batting fourth.
The gulf in Batting class
Mushfiqur Rahim and skipper Mominul Haque are the mainstays in the batting line-up, given the inconsistencies of Imrul Kayes and Liton Das and the absence of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal.
The 20-year-old Saif Hassan is rated highly in the domestic circuit and he made the headlines recently after his second double century for Dhaka Division last month.
India’s top five batsmen in the line-up are in sparkling form ,with four of them scoring centuries in the recently concluded series against the Proteas. Cheteshwar Pujara, who notched two half-centuries in four innings, was the only batsman who didn’t get to triple figures in October.
India at Indore
The only other time India played a Test at the Holkar stadium, they registered a resounding win over New Zealand by 322 runs. Virat Kohli has pleasant memories of scoring the first of his seven double centuries at this venue. Ashwin’s bes- ever figures of seven for 52 also came at the same venue.
Ultimately, Bangladesh enter the series as massive underdogs and will to play out of their skins to unsettle Virat Kohli’s clinical team.
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