Bangladesh is counting on the hot and stifling conditions being their friend and not England’s when the first cricket Test starts on Thursday.High humidity along with temperatures of up to 34 degrees (90 F) are forecast for Chittagong for the next five days, with little relief from clouds.
High humidity along with temperatures of up to 34 degrees (90 F) are forecast for Chittagong for the next five days, with little relief from clouds.
The one-day international series started in mid-afternoons with some relief in the evenings, but the Tests get going from 10 a.m., and the Bangladeshis hope the weather makes things easier for them in their first series in 15 months.
“Weather will have a big effect,” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim says. “Maintaining concentration and consistency over five days will be challenging.
“It will be more difficult for them than us, as they are not habituated to this weather. Although they have been here for around 15-20 days, we’ll try to maximise our advantage to the full, be it from the wicket or the weather conditions.”
The conditions worried England captain Alastair Cook.
“England as a cricketing nation plays more Test cricket than Bangladesh, which helps us, but we don’t play a huge amount in these conditions,” Cook says.
“Home advantage and home conditions play a big part. We have to learn fast – three days of (warmup) cricket isn’t a huge amount of time for a lot of the guys to be in, and I haven’t seen any of it. We have to think on our feet and be ready.”
Cook missed both warmup matches – three days’ worth – for the birth of his second child. He came to Bangladesh to acclimatize with the ODI squad, returned home to see his new baby girl, and returned on Monday.
He will eclipse Alec Stewart and become England’s most capped player when he appears in his 134th Test on Thursday since his debut in 2006.
Rahim paid tribute to Cook.
“He is a role model to any young player, the way he has played in the last 10 years,” Rahim says. “He made his debut after me and he has played 133 and I have played only 48.
“He will be one of the key players to get rid of early, so hopefully we can execute our plans against him.”
England come from drawing a four-match Test series against Pakistan at home. England has already played 10 Tests this year, while Bangladesh hasn’t played a Test since July 2015 against South Africa.
Rahim said he was not in a position to complain about Bangladesh’s lack of Tests, and had no reservation about calling England the favourite.
“The way England are playing in the last few years, clearly they are the favourites on the Test side,” Rahim said. “But we were the favourites in the ODI series, and we ended up losing, so it doesn’t matter.”
Bangladesh has lost only one of its last eight Tests since October 2014 but it has had no red-ball cricket in 18 months. Cook dismissed talk of who is favourite.
“Bangladesh haven’t played much cricket over the last year or so, but that’s outweighed by them not playing in alien conditions, whereas these conditions are not natural to us,” Cook says. “We won an Ashes series when no one gave us a chance, so (whose favourite is) irrelevant to how we play.”