England will enter the Test series with confidence after winning the Sri Lanka and South Africa series    Getty Images
England will enter the Test series with confidence after winning the Sri Lanka and South Africa series Getty Images

Before the beginning of the series between Bangladesh and England, there was plenty of drama right from the tour on the verge of being cancelled due to security concerns to England s limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan and opening batsman Alex Hales backing out from the tour to on-field spat as well. Despite all this, England found winning ways and have already sealed the One-Day International (ODI) series. They are heading towards the Test series with confidence with some newbies on the side along with the same old formula. Bangladesh, in contrast, have given opportunity to their limited-overs batsman Sabbir Rahman along with four uncapped players for the first Test to be held at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) in Chittagong. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs England, 1st Test at Chittagong

England had successful start to the year in Test arena with victory against South Africa in the Basil D Oliveira Trophy followed by their win against Sri Lanka and the latest being a stiff competition against Pakistan that ended in a draw. England have a long cricketing season lined up as they will face India followed by their tour against West Indies in March 2017. But keeping in mind this long season, England have kept the right foot ahead.

England s batting and bowling combination:

England s batting speaks volumes. Skipper Alastair Cook will be seen in the whites after the Pakistan series, where he provided thumping start at the top. Cook will become England s most capped Test cricketer on Thursday, when he will lead his side in the opening Test of their two-match series against Bangladesh. He amassed 343 runs and ended the series with decent strike rate of 47.01 against Pakistan. With no Hales and Vince along, it all comes down to deputy Joe Root. He was equally effective with this innings, both against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, especially with his double century, which was his career best that turned the tides for England against Pakistan. The run machine will be expected to provide solidity along with skipper Cook alongside. Stokes has not been at the best of form in Tests in recent past and that could be worrisome. However, his century in ODI series is enough to show the potential threat he can pose to the opponent.

Jonny Bairstow is yet another batsman to vouch for with his consistency in the middle. His last three innings show above fifty scores and the wrath he can cause in the middle. Then of course there is Moeen Ali to add fire with his surprise performances. He has been the reason for the depth in the batting department that England possesses. Now that Jos Buttler is also making his presence felt in Tests, it can only boost the middle-order with his aggressive shots. Gary Ballance is also a part of the squad, who was given an opportunity in the series against Pakistan that was not a memorable one barring his first innings where he secured a fifty.

England s major strength also lies in their bowling. Although there is no James Anderson or Mark Wood to heat up the unit but the likes of Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, newcomer Jake Ball, comeback man Gareth Batty, spinners Moeen and Adil Rashid can inflict enough damage. Woakes claimed 11 wickets at the end of the first Test against Pakistan. Though the count kept tumbling, Woakes will be the spearhead amongst the pacers. Moeen and Stokes also are aware of the conditions and can put them into action in Tests. Ball had a dream debut in ODIs with his fifer and is all set to recreate the magic in Tests as well.

The return of Gareth Batty:

When Batty was included in the Test squad for Bangladesh tour, it came out as a surprise. Resuming his Test career at the age of 39 is no more amusing as Misbah-ul-Haq continues to lead his side at the age of 42 and even scored a century recently. Batty s last Test remains a horrendous moment of his Test career where Brian Lara made his life nothing less than a hell. Lara scored 400 runs and broke several records out of which the one being of going past Matthew Hayden. In that innings, Batty gave away 185 runs in 52 overs. Since then, Batty was never to be found in the England side. He was once again called up for the side after his county performance with Surrey and is now aiming for full fledged use of the chance given to him amidst spinners like Rashid, Moeen and newbie Zafar Ansari.

England s uncapped players:

England are not going with the tried and tested method, with some new combinations in the side. Ball has already shown his presence in the side with the ball after a fifer on his debut. As for Ben Duckett, he has already shown his magic in the tour match as he scored fifty on the same ground as well as in the ODIs with his half-century along with skipper Buttler to win the second crucial ODI match. His double century against Kent in September paved his way to the national side.

Zafar Ansari had an excellent season for Surrey and has been called as the third spinner to the side. Batty is of course around, but Ansari was at the top with bat and ball. His 4-for in the practice match has already stamped his entry ahead of the Tests and his runs for Surrey in 40 s is what makes him an important asset for England. Haseeb Hameed is the next new man for England. This right-hand batsman can be a good replacement in absence of Hales and Vince. He has scored centuries for Lancashire and his recent half-century in the tour match was enough to show the potential he carries with the bat.

With these players around, England are all set to play with set of mixed bunch against budding Bangladesh Test side.


The success ratio for England in subcontinent in Tests has seen the visitors facing loss on most of the occasions while the draw and win ratio is very much the same. England will need to make a strong statement in the subcontinent especially with the India tour a month s time away.

England are presently on an experimentation mode before finalising the squad for India tour beginning on November 9. India and England have had 31 bilateral Test series so far since 1932. Overall, England have won bilateral Test series against India as many as 18 times, while only four series have been drawn. India have won nine of 31 series against England. Looking at this ratio, England have a task at their hands.

Overall, England have strong side from the perspective of all departments and will be confident to take Bangladesh on their home soil. England, who are at No. 4 in the Test rankings, will want to climb the ladder before progressing for the tour to India.

(Shruti Hariharan is Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)