England began their subcontinental sojourn with a thrilling 22-run victory at Chittagong. The engrossing contest also showed Bangladesh’s readiness to completely embrace Test cricket by preparing result-oriented pitches. They pushed the visitors farther than most would have anticipated and in the process gave them an indication that playing under such viciously turning conditions requires enormous mental toughness for any touring team.
With a 5-match showdown against the number one ranked Test side in India looming in their horizon, Alastair Cook’s side enter Dhaka having gained enough experience from the close shave. However, it remains to be seen how they react after witnessing first hand a Bangladesh team who do not seem to be pushovers like their predecessors.
Possessing sufficient teeth in the bowling unit to take 20 wickets on spin-friendly surfaces, the Bangladeshis have another opportunity to target their maiden victory against one of the powerhouses of the game. The bigger question will however lie on their mindset, should they come as close to the finishing line as in the previous match.
Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Date: 28 October – 01 November, 2016
Time: 04:00 GMT / 10:00 local/ 09:30 IST
Broadcast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2
Online Stream: www.hotstar.com/sports/cricket
Though the selectors had brought in uncapped 20-year old batsman Mosaddek Hossain as cover for Sabbir, the latter has been declared fit after recovering sufficiently from an illness. However, Shafiul Islam will not be available for selection which could make the think tank go for another spinning option or a specialist batsman to bolster the lineup.
Among the options are Soumya Sarkar who also doubles up as a serviceable seam-up bowler and Mosaddek, a part-time off-spinner. Shuvogato Hom may find himself in contention as well if a bowling all-rounder is preferred.
As they often do, England have all but revealed their playing eleven. Though the top-order were not particularly impressive in the series opener, the batting lineup is likely to remain the same. But the spin attack will see a fresh face with Zafar Ansari set to make his Test debut in place of Gareth Batty.
Senior pacer Stuart Broad should also make way for Steven Finn as the team management have one eye on the upcoming 5-Test series in India. The 30-year old will have to wait until at least Rajkot in order to complete 100 Test caps.
Probable XI: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (c) (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar/Shuvagata Hom/Mosaddek Hossain, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam and Kamrul Islam Rabbi
Probable XI: Alastair Cook (c), Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Zafar Ansari, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Steven Finn
There is a substantial threat of rain during the first three days of the match which may not allow the surface to deteriorate as much as normal with the humidity expected to maintain the difficulty level for the seamers.
Requiring a result for all purposes, the hosts could want another pitch offering significant assistance for spin. However, the batsmen should find the going a lot easier when compared to the previous match as Dhaka is known to produce batting-friendly conditions.
Mushfiqur will join former skippers Habibul Bashar and Mohammad Ashraful in becoming the third Bangladeshi player to complete 50 Tests.
Bairstow broke the record for the most runs in a calendar year by a wicket-keeper batsman in Tests. He needs another 390 runs to snatch the England batting record from Michael Vaughan who scored 1481 runs in 2002.
Ansari has played 66 First-Class matches and scored 2908 runs at an average of 31.26 with three centuries whilst also picking up 122 wickets at an average of 34.45 with six five-fors.