The second Test match against Bangladesh will be another opportunity for India to improve its position in the World Test Championship table. India won the first Test comfortably and will be desperate for a series sweep in Mirpur to consolidate their second spot in the World Test Championship table.
India, however, will need to produce some good results during their series against Australia if they are to qualify for the coveted WTC final for the second time in a row. Ahead of the final Test starting on Thursday, batting coach Vikram Rathour said the team is eyeing four Tests against Australia in India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February and March next year. “When you play in Asia, the subcontinent, you expect the wickets to turn. After that we are playing against Australia and we are expecting a turn from them. Such good practice for us. Good preparation,” Rathour said at the pre-match press conference.
Read this also | ‘There is something in me. People want to see me in their place’: Indian wicketkeeper on comparison with MS Dhoni
In the race to qualify for the final, Australia currently hold a healthy lead at the top of the standings.
However, it has been the kind of phase for India where things don’t always go according to plan, especially on the injury front. There was another injury scare on the eve of the Test when skipper KL Rahul injured his thumb while taking a throwdown from Rathour. While India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour indicated on Wednesday that Rahul’s injury was not serious, he did not confirm whether he was certain to start the match. Rathore said, “Not so (looking serious). He looks fine. Hopefully, he will be fine. Doctors are looking into it, but hopefully he will be fine.”
If Rahul misses out, India could be without both their first-choice openers as Rohit Sharma was also ruled out earlier with a hand injury. In that case, vice-captain Cheteshwar Pujara is likely to lead the side and Abhimanyu Easwaran, who initially came into the squad as Rohit’s standby, will open with Shubman Gill.
pressure on bangladesh
The pressure is on the home team to break into the game and level the series. Their best bet for reversals is to go for bowler-friendly tracks and take their chances. The pitch at Chattogram was slow and low throughout the match but the Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch is expected to have comparatively more bounce and help the fast bowlers. Asked about the wicket, Rathour said, “We are expecting it to have a bit more bounce and turn than the last one. We want to play according to the conditions.”
“Whatever wicket we get, we are fine. We have absolutely no problem with our side. However it plays out, we have to score as many runs as possible and put up a good score if we bat first.”
India’s probable XI vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test: Toss between Umesh Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul eyes clean sweep
This puts the onus on Bangladesh’s batsmen to step up their game against India’s quality bowling attack, which proved to be the difference between the two sides in the first Test. All five of India’s frontline bowlers had varying degrees of impact against Bangladesh’s top-order.
The biggest gain for India from the match was the return of Kuldeep Yadav. The chinaman bowler, playing his first Test in 22 months, took eight wickets in the match. His performance in the second Test will be closely watched by experts to see if he can carry forward the confidence he has gained. Another good performance from the wrist spinner will boost India’s attack, as at the top of his game he can be a true match-winner on any surface.
focus on kuldeep
India’s three-pronged spin attack is likely to go for R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Kuldeep complementing each other. On subcontinent tracks, the experienced Ashwin is a threat at any stage of the innings, Axar enjoys bowling the tough, new ball and wrist spinners get out more with the old ball.
The two left-arm spinners shared the spoils in the first Test, while Ashwin strangely underwhelmed, ending with only two wickets. But, the senior supporters will enjoy the extra bounce in Dhaka and will be hungry to capitalize on it.
For their team to stand a chance, Bangladesh’s bowling attack will have to step up their game against India’s in-form line-up. Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill will go into the game confident of runs under their belts. Gill hit his maiden century in Tests and veteran Cheteshwar Pujara scored an unbeaten 102 after scoring 90 in the first innings to score his first hundred in four years and Iyer made a valuable 86 in the first innings.