The long Test season in India is now onto its solitary chapter. Starting from Thursday, Team India will locks horns with Bangladesh in a one-off Test in Hyderabad and this is scheduled to be the ninth Test played between the two teams. The first Test between the two nations was held way back in 2000 and since then, India has won six of their eight Test matches against Bangladesh. Noticeably, all of these matches were held in Bangladesh. It is now, after 16 years, that they have been finally been invited to play a Test on Indian soil. The reason behind this remains a mystery with financial implications being cited as one of the reasons. But all this could change if the visitors manage to spring a surprise and captain Mushfiqur Rahim and co. will have to be at their supreme best if they are harbouring any hope of leaving a mark on their first visit (in Tests) to India.
However, the Indian team will be tough to beat given their current run of form (18 games unbeaten) in the longer version of the game. With Virat Kohli’s aggressive approach and Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha returning to the side it looks stronger than ever. The only area which remains a matter of conjecture is whether Kohli will go in with Hardik Pandya or a sixth batsman. With Amit Mishra injured, Jayant Yadav spot seems secure in the side. His ability with the bat lower down the order and playing the role of the third spinner to perfection brings in further depth to the squad.
Meanwhile, despite their woeful performance against New Zealand, the visitors cannot be taken lightly or be treated as minnows either. Their potent spin attack can prove deadly on the Hyderabad pitch and added to that is the skill of all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib, who also has the experience of IPL will add more mettle to the squad. In the series against England, Shakib was the second-highest wicket-taker. His ability with the bat reached newer heights as he slammed a double-century recently. But if there is one player whose absence the visitors will rue is pacer Mustafizur Rahman. In the previous IPL, Mustafizur displayed his class and propelled Sun Risers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL crown. The 21-year-old pacer’s knowledge of Indian pitches will surely be missed.
If Bangaldesh are looking to pull of an upset then it will be an uphill task. Statistics do not speak well for the visitors if we take a look at their away form. Their last overseas victory was against Zimbabwe and that too was four years ago. India will thereby continue to remain strong favourites to win at home, although the Tigers are not ones to be taken lightly as they are capable of springing a surprise attack from nowhere.
India: Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Wrddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah Riyad, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Mominul Haque, Sabbir Rahman, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Taijul Islam, Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Shafiul Islam.