Tigers upbeat to overcome Pakistan challenge in 1st Test
CHATTOGRAM, -Putting behind their ongoing lean from, Bangladesh want to give Pakistan a tough fight when the opening game of the two-match Test series starts tomorrow (Friday) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram. The match which starts at 10 AM is Bangladesh’s first game in the second edition of ICC World Test Championship. And despite a poor Test record, Bangladesh vowed to leave no stone unturned to win the game. “No doubt the series will be challenging but whatever resources we have we are confident to do well,” Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque said during a virtual press conference today.
Bangladesh will have to field a new look side in absence of their three senior players-Shakib Al Hasan failed to pass the fitness test after sustaining a hamstring injury during the Twenty20 World Cup, Mahmudullah Riyad officially retired from Test cricket while Tamim Iqbal continued missing Bangladesh matches, due to his recurring finger injury. Shakib and Mahmudullah were in Bangladesh’s last Test against Zimbabwe. Mahmudullah struck his career-best 150 not out in that match to help the side win the game by 220 runs at Harare.
With Shakib being considered as two in one player, Bangladesh definitely would have to sweat hard for their combination against Pakistan in the first Test while a Mahmudullah Riyad-size gap will also give them a headache. Bangladesh are likely to plug those loopholes, handing debut to Yasir Ali Rabbi. There are also two newcomers in the team-opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy and pacer Rejaur Rahman but Mominul didn’t give any indication about the team.
“It won’t be easy to play without those senior players but we should not be disappointed. We have to play with what we have. I think other players are motivated enough to show their mettle,” Mominul remarked. Pacer Abu Jayed Rahi is set to return to the squad after missing the Zimbabwe Test. Rahi was the regular Test bowler but surprisingly he was omitted from Zimbabwe Test in favour for Taskin Ahmed, who was left out from the Test squad at the eleventh hour after suffering an injury during the third T20 International against Pakistan.
In this year, Bangladesh played five Tests, won just one against Zimbabwe and lost three-two against West Indies at home and one against Sri Lanka in away. They however drew one Test against Sri Lanka. At home Bangladesh could beat West Indies in both Tests but somehow fell short, largely due to the insipid bowling performance.
Unlike the T20 cricket, Bangladesh’s Test batting was promising in those five Test matches even though the ratio of win and loss put a shed on it. The home side is coming off the series after being whitewashed at the hands of Pakistan in three-match Twenty20 series and before that they had had a disastrous Twenty20 World Cup campaign. On both occasions, Bangladesh’s batting was miserable but since Test is entirely a different form, they could expect to turn the fortune, at least as far as the batting is concerned.
Bangladesh so far played 10 Tests against Pakistan and lost all but one, which they were able to draw. That draw came in 2015 when Pakistan toured Bangladesh for the last time for a bilateral series. Tamim Iqbal’s 206, the then individual highest Test innings for Bangladesh, and Imrul Kayes’s 150 was key in holding Pakistan in that match.
Tamim and Kayes put on record 312- run opening partnership to end Bangladesh’s losing run against Pakistan. Pakistan have been in good form in Test cricket also, winning the series against South Africa and Zimbabwe at home and drawing a series in West Indies. They also put a tough fight against England in England’s soil before losing the three-match series by 1-0. Bangladesh so far played 121 Tests, won just 14 and lost a staggering number of 91 Tests of which 43 defeats was by innings margin.
The rest of 16 Tests were drawn. The number says how vulnerable the Tigers remain at this format but still when the game is being held at home, Bangladesh could hope against the hopes. Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (Captain), Shadman Islam, Saif Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Kumer Das, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Abu Jayed Chowdhury Rahi, Yasir Ali Rabbi, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Rejaur Rahman Raja.