Pakistan vs Bangladesh 2020, 1st Test: Preview and predicted playing XI
Pakistan will look to build on their T20I series triumph against Bangladesh, when they welcome the Tigers for the first Test at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Friday, 7 February 2020. After the conclusion of the first Test, Bangladesh will travel back home to host Zimbabwe; they will then return to Pakistan for the second Test and sole ODI in April.
Head-to-head overall: Pakistan have played nine Test fixtures against Bangladesh and lead the head-to-head by an overwhelming margin of 8-0, with one fixture ending in a stalemate.
Head-to-head in Pakistan: The hosts have comfortably secured all the games played against Bangladesh.
Weather report: A clear day is expected with no chance of rain. The temperature will hover around the 21-23°C mark.
Pakistan are going through a roller-coaster ride in this format. They lost both of their WTC fixtures against Australia, but made a quick comeback in the home series against Sri Lanka (1-0) to open their account on the points tally.
They would love to continue building on that momentum against Bangladesh.
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Key Batsmen: Abid Ali, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali
Abid Ali made a big impact in his inaugural Test series against Sri Lanka last month. He scored an unbeaten 109 in the first Test and followed that up with a match defining 174 in the second Test.
Babar Azam and skipper Azhar Ali are among the team's most consistent run-getters and are likely to play a major role too.
Key Bowlers: Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah
Shaheen Afridi (25 wickets in 7 Tests) and Mohammad Abbas (72 wickets in 17 Tests) have been Pakistan's most consistent wicket-takers in this format, and one should expect them to make life difficult for the visitors.
Naseem Shah took a brilliant 5-wicket haul in his previous Test against Sri Lanka, and the management will be hoping he makes a similar impact against the Tigers.
Predicted Playing XI
Azhar Ali (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah
The Tigers didn't have a favorable start to their World Test Championship campaign as they suffered heavy defeats (by an innings) in both games against India. They will look to bounce back from that with a positive showing against Pakistan.
Key Batsmen: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das and Mominul Haque
The return of Tamim Iqbal would be seen as a big relief by the management. The flamboyant opener is coming in on the back of his best first class score (334*) in domestic cricket, and would be itching to replicate that in the Test format.
Liton Das and Mominul Haque are the other key men in this line-up; they have enough experience to dismantle any attack on their day. In the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim, these two will have to bear the responsibility of taking the team to a big total.
Key Bowlers: Taijul Islam and Abu Jayed
Bangladesh's bowling will mostly revolve around the experienced Taijul Islam (106 wickets in 27 Tests), who will be relied upon for early breakthroughs. Among the youngsters, Abu Jayed would look at this Test as a golden opportunity to prove his mettle.
Predicted Playing XI
Mominul Haque (c), Liton Das (wk), Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Mithun, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain and Abu JayedPublished 06 Feb 2020, 19:52 IST