Bangladesh cricket team will face giant England in the first Test of their two-match series starting at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) in Chittagong on Thursday. The Test between Bangladesh, an irregular participant in the longest format of cricket, and visiting England, a regular force, will start at 10am.
Bangladesh will resume their Test cricket campaign after a gap of more than 14 months while England will take the ground on Thursday after playing out 19 Tests in the last 14 months.
However, by the end of the year 2016, England will play 17 Tests, including seven in eight weeks in the subcontinent, while Bangladesh Test side wrap-up this year playing only the two-match series with their 2nd match against England, scheduled to start at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on October 28.
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim expects better game against England depending on his experienced fellows who are playing in the all three formats for the national side and are in good form.
“You will find five to six players in the squad who are playing in all the three formats for the country and I think all of them are in good form,” Mushfiqur replied to a query at pre-match press conference at ZACS on Wednesday.
Mushfiqur considered that winning Toss in the match will be an important factor to post a 300 plus runs in the first innings on the flat wicket.
The Tigers’ top six players will be exactly the one that played the last Test against South Africa at the same venue in July, 2015, but the rest of the line-up will be changed.
Sabbir Rahman and 18-year-old off-spinner Mehedi Hasan are most likely to make their Test debuts. If the home side will go with two pace bowlers, Kamrul Islam Rabbi would also be making his debut. If Mushfiqur keeps wicket, Nurul Hasan will be sitting out.
The Tigers are missing their star pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who is on the road to recovery from surgery on his shoulder, during the entire tour of English side.
Head coach Chandika Hathurusingha acknowledged a lack of quality bowlers in the squad saying, “I have been fighting to find bowlers who can get 20 wickets in Tests.”
England will have to make at least three changes from their last Test eleven, with Alex Hales (opted out), James Vince (dropped) and James Anderson (injured) unavailable.
Skipper Alastair Cook, who will win his record 134th cap to move past Alec Stewart at the top of the list for the most Test appearances for his side, will have a new opening partner after Alex Hales, his most recent fellow opener, decided to sit the tour out for security reasons.
“This game is not going to be remembered for a personal thing, it’s going to be a team performance,” Cook said.
“Being captain of the Test team was ‘something I am very proud of,” he added.
The 22-year old Ben Duckett and the 19-year old Haseeb Hameed are likely to make their debut at number 2 and 4 respectively while Ben Stokes' return brings all-round influence.
Much focus will be on Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali and they are set to join by a third spinner with 39-year-old Gareth Batty who played his previous Test in 2005.
Since 2003, Bangladesh played eight Test matches against England but never could manage a victory.
Bangladesh best eleven(probable): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain & wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam and Kamrul Islam Rabbi.
England best eleven(probable): Alastair Cook (captain), Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root, Ben Duckett, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Gareth Batty and Stuart Broad, according to UNB. – bz