A home series victory is the target for Bangladesh as they face West Indies at the Shere Bangla Stadium at Mirpur on the outskirts of Dhaka in the second Test starting December 30, a venue where the home team has claimed their two biggest Test victories: against England and Australia all in the past two seasons.
West Indies were shellacked in the first Test in Chittagong, where 40 wickets fell inside seven-and-a-half sessions as Bangladesh stormed to victory. No surprises that their spinners out bowled the visitors’ with the teenage debutant Nayeem Hasan becoming the youngest bowler ever to start his career with five wickets in an innings.
How West Indies’ batsmen cope with the pressure of four quality spinners wheeling in over after over, session after session, will decide the outcome of the Mirpur Test. Only Sunil Ambris, Shimron Hetmyr and Jomel Warrican did anything of note in Chittagong, which leaves the other players to look themselves in the mirror and rise to the occasion.
The best year Bangladesh have had is 2014, when they won three Tests. They have two wins in 2017 and will eye drawing level with a third for their best year.
Date: December 30
Venue: Shere Bangladesh National Stadium, Mirror
Time: 09:00am IST
Weather: Sunny with a high of 24 degrees
Imrul Kayes is out of the second Test with a shoulder injury, leaving the 23-year-old Shadman Islam as the only opener in the squad. He looks set to make his debut as opening partner to Soumya Sarkar. Mushfiqur Rahim bruised a finger during indoor training on Wednesday and was rested on Thursday, but is expected to play. The selectors have called up wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das as cover.
Probable XI: 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Shadman Islam, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mohammad Mithun, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah (capt), 8 Mehedy Hasan Miraz, 9 Nayeem Hasan, 10 Taijul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
West Indies are without Shannon Gabriel, who was handed a one-match suspension by the ICC during the Chittagong game, which deprives them of their leading Test wicket-taker this year. One of Keemo Paul and Shermon Lewis will fill in. The opener Kieran Powell made 14 and a golden duck in Chittagong, but without any other opening options he looks likely to continue.
– Kemar Roach has 164 Test wickets, and two more will take him past Fidel Edwards on West Indies’ all-time bowling table to tenth place.
– Taijul Islam has 94 wickets from 22 Tests and could surpass Shakib Al Hasan (28 Tests) to become the fastest Bangladesh bowler to 100.
– Taijul has 40 Test wickets in 2018, the most ever for a Bangladesh bowler. Seven more will take him past Kagiso Rabada to top of the pile this year.
– Bangladesh have won four of 18 Test matches at Mirpur, losing 11 and drawing three. The wins came over Zimbabwe (2014, 2018), England (2016) and Australia (2017).
“Even if you don’t pick wickets, if you are checking the runs it will help the bowlers from the other end to pick wickets. Cricket is such a game that someone will pick wickets while someone else will stop the flow of runs.” – Taijul
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