Bangladesh will take on visiting West Indies in the first Test of the two-match series beginning at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium today with Shakib Al Hasan expected to make his comeback to lead the Tigers.
The match will start at 9:30 am.
Shakib on Wednesday said his injured finger is now in a good shape to play the game. “Alhamdulillah, my hand is completely good,” the talismanic all-rounder said while speaking at pre-match preconference at the match venue.
Terming the series against West Indies more ‘challenging’, he said, “They played well against us in their home soil. In the same way, our aim will be to show a better performance against them at our home. I think we have to face challenging situations in every way. At the same time, I believe we are accustomed to accepting this sort of challenges as well.”
“We all know how challenging it is to play five days. We have to wait until the end to see it,” Shakib said.
About the team combination, he said they were yet to decide it. “If Imrul [Kayes] gets the chance, he will do well. Shadman [Islam] did well in the practice match. Soumya [Sarkar] made a good comeback. All three have good chances in the opening,” he said.
“It might not be a high-scoring match. If we can score 300-plus runs, it will be very good total. If it's a good batting pitch, then 400-500 in the first innings would be a huge advantage,” said the all-rounder.
The visitors have got injury problem with Jason Holder going home for the entire tour of Bangladesh because of a shoulder injury while the hosts are all this way, without Tamim Iqbal should all the best in the good contest.
West Indies stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite said, “We are confident to win the match here, but it will not be easy like our last tour.”
“We must have the right attitude towards each bowler. It will serve us well. We won many matches here, but it will be different this time. I think this time they [host side] are stronger, especially spinners are doing well. It will not be like before. Their batsmen can be dangerous. We know it’s not easy, but we are ready. We are not going forward looking back to the statistics, but boys’ will do something great, I hope,” he added.
Bangladesh and the West Indies have plenty to prove after both teams were severely tested in their previous 14 outings where Bangladesh have two wins and two draws against 10 losses.
Shakib, who was out of the field for over a month and missed the clashes against Zimbabwe due to a finger injury, is returning to captain the side raising significantly threat against the West Indies.
Mushfiqur Rahim seems to be in the form of his life – he broke records aplenty with his unbeaten double-century 219 in Mirpur last week against Zimbabwe.
Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah Riyad struck hundreds while Mohammad Mithun made a much needed fifty in the second innings as they went on to post a big win alongside Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s impressive form with the bat in the second Test.
Miraz has been special with the ball as well, his five-wicket haul in the second innings saving the series for Bangladesh, but it is Taijul Islam who will hope to be the real force again – he took three consecutive five-wicket hauls and was adjudged player of the series against Zimbabwe, and will want more of the same this series.
What’s worrying for Bangladesh is the fact that it took a loss in the first Zimbabwe Test in Sylhet to spark a lot of these performances. Do that against the West Indies, and they might not offer them a way back, especially given the record between these two sides in Tests.
Without regular captain Jason Holder, West Indies have to fill two places effectively, that of an in-form fast bowler and a handy lower-order batsman. But it could be Kemar Roach who comes into the playing XI.
The Wes Indies were, for the most part, outplayed by India in the two-match series in October. In fact, they can take encouragement from the way Zimbabwe went about troubling Bangladesh.
The West Indies named more or less the same side that played the Tests in India last month. The likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Sunil Ambris and Kieran Powell would have learnt plenty from facing Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, and they will hope to make it count against Taijul, Miraz and the returning Shakib .
Probable best XIs:
Bangladesh best XI (probable): Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled Ahmed.
West Indies best XI (probable): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican and Shannon Gabriel.