IND v BAN, Only Test Preview: India outright favourites but Bangladesh not far behind
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After thrashing England 4-0 in the five-match series very recently, Team India will be high on confidence going into the solitary Test against Bangladesh starting from tomorrow at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. It will also give India an opportunity to finalize their playing XI ahead of the much-awaited 4-match Test series against Australia starting from 23rd February. Virat Kohli and Co. has been playing some exceptional cricket, especially in the longest format as they remained unbeaten in 2016.
Besides defeating England 4-0, they also made light work of the Kiwis at home and the Caribbeans in their own den. Bangladesh, on the other hand, will look to make a mark in the Test against India which will also be the very first time when they will play a Test match in India in their 18 years Test history.
The hosts have a pretty settled line-up with most of the players looking in good touch. Both Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul have been in good form at the top of the order with both scoring crucial runs in the series against England. While Vijay over the years has cemented his opening slot in the team, Rahul has cashed in on the opportunities he has got in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan and has made himself the preferred opener along with Vijay.
The middle-order with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat and Ajinkya Rahane have the capacity to derail any star-studded bowling line-up. With the return of Rahane, Karun Nair’s place in the side remains in doubt despite scoring a triple century in his previous encounter. Regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha will make a comeback after missing out in the last 3 Tests against England.
Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund has also been recalled to the squad after 6 years as a reserve opener. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav received his maiden call-up after Amit Mishra sustained a knee injury.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will look to continue their stupendous form with the ball and trouble the Bangladeshi batsmen. Ishant Sharma will spearhead the pace attack along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Jayant Yadav is also expected to get a game.
Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav
Despite losing their previous Test series in New Zealand by a 2-0 margin, the Bangla Tigers played some spirited cricket and became the only team to lose a Test match after scoring 595 in their first essay. Their main problem over the years has been their inconsistency which has hurt them badly.
Despite having a brilliant team, Bangladesh has shown glimpses of their prowess but has failed to sustain it consistently at the highest level. Their performance against England was pretty impressive as they went on to beat England for the very first time in their Test history.
The visitor will be bolstered by the return of their captain Mushfiqur Rahim after sustaining an injury during the series in New Zealand. The opening slot looks pretty settled with southpaws Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar occupying the place followed by the talented Mominul Haque.
The middle-order comprises of some big names like Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim who has the capability to defy any bowling line-up. Shakib recently became the 3rd Bangladesh to smash a double century against New Zealand in their previous tour and the southpaw will look to carry on from where he left there.
Teenage spinner Mehedi Hasan who was brilliant during his debut series against England might well be the trump card for Bangladesh in the upcoming series. With the Hyderabad pitch expected to assist spinners as the game progresses, Mehedi looks to stamp his authority in India.
His partner Taijul Islam will also play a vital role for the visitors. The pace brigade will be headed by Taskin Ahmed followed by Kamrul Islam Rabbi who performed very well in New Zealand.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Shakib-al-Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (C/wk), Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Kamrul Islam Rabbi
1- This will be the maiden time Bangladesh will be playing a Test match in India
78- Mushfiqur Rahim is 78 runs away from reaching his 3,000 Test runs.
2- Ravichandran Ashwin is just 2 wickets away from bagging 250 Test wickets