India came late to the party in the just concluded ODI series in Bangladesh – losing the 3-match series after losses in the first 2 games but came back with a vengeance to take the 3rd by 227 runs. It’s now time for some Test cricket with the 1st of the 2-Test series beginning on Wednesday, December 14th. Here’s all you need to know…
With regular captain Rohit Sharma out of the series due to a thumb injury, KL Rahul is likely to lead a team with an in-form Virat Kohli (who averages 78.40 against Bangladesh in Test cricket) fresh off a 113 for the last ODI. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant are both back as well and either could take on the vice-captain’s mantle.
Abhimanyu Easwaran, who led India A to a 1-0 win in the recent four-day series against Bangladesh A on a shadow tour has been called up as Sharma’s replacement.
Due to injuries, India will also miss the services of Mohammed Shami (shoulder) and Ravindra Jadeja (Knee). Jaydev Unadkat and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar are their replacements. Saurabh finished the ‘A’ tour with a haul of 15 wickets across two red-ball matches. Navdeep Saini also makes a comeback.
For the hosts, talisman Shakib Al Hasan leads a team with proven performers on home soil. Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim have been the batting mainstays this year, with Das scoring 659 runs in 8 matches at an average of 47.07 (2 centuries and 4 fifties) and Rahim, 379 runs in 5 innings (2 centuries).
Mushfiqur Rahim is Bangladesh’s leading run-scorer against India in Test cricket – 518 runs at an average of 51.80 in 6 Tests (2 centuries and 2 half-centuries).
Bangladesh’s bowling attack that includes the seasoned Taskin Ahmed, Taijul Islam and Shoriful Islam could trouble an Indian side short of Test minutes. Throw into the mix 2022’s leading wicket-takers like Ebadot Hossain and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (both picking up 20 wickets a piece), and we are looking at another closely fought series.
The one to watch though, is definitely right-arm medium pacer Khaled Ahmed. He has 18 wickets in 6 matches to his name and includes a 5-wicket haul against West Indies at Gros Islet in June 2022.
Total – 11 | India – 9 |Bangladesh – 0 |Draw – 2 (both in Bangladesh)
NOTE: India have won their last three Tests against Bangladesh including the 2019 Day/Night Test at the Eden Gardens. India won both Tests in that series by an innings.
1st Test – December 14 to December 18, Chattogram
2nd Test – December 22 to December 26, Mirpur
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Das, Nurul Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Anamul Haque, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Rejaur Rahman Raja
India: KL Rahul (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat