After clinching the T20I series against Bangladesh 2-1, India are gearing up to face them in the Test series, with the first Test starting in Indore on November 14. With certain changes being made to both the squads ahead of the clash in the longest format of the game and some hoping to continue their form from the T20 series, we take a look at the key battles that will be crucial to the result of the first Test.
Mustafizur Rahman vs Rohit Sharma
After they went up against each other in the T20I series, it’s time for round two of ‘Fizz’ vs the ‘Hit-Man’. Rohit’s brilliant century in the second T20I helped India level the series, and laid the platform upon which the home side could eventually go on to win the series. On the other hand, by his own lofty standards, Mustafizur had a slightly underwhelming T20I series and would want to get back to his best in the Tests.
However, it will be far from easy as India have been dominant in Tests, and specially at home where Rohit picks the ball like a football once he gets his eye in. Mustafizur would rely on reverse swing once the ball gets old, and might just prove to be Rohit’s undoing if he gets it right.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Mushfiqur Rahim
Bangladeshi wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim is a man high in confidence. Albeit he could not provide more match-winning contributions like in the first T20I to help get Bangladesh more than one win in the T20I series, he was a leader in more ways than one. Bangladesh would need him to hold fort in the lower-middle order when he comes up against the wily spin of Ashwin, who is a master at extracting the potential of the old ball on a spinning wicket.
Rahim has six Test tons and two double-tons to his name, and presents one of Bangladesh’s main batting threats. And with both Rahim and Ashwin wearing their heart on their sleeves on the field, expect fireworks when these two come up against each other.
Mehidy Hasan vs Cheteshwar Pujara
Over the years, Mehidy Hasan has proved himself to be one of Bangladesh’s leading spinners in the longest format of the game, averaging a little over 32 and having 89 wickets to his name in 20 Tests. He will be up against the calm and composed experience of Cheteshwar Pujara, who is an expert at holding fort and playing long innings’, specially in home conditions. Hasan will have to probe, prod, and then hope that he’s able to find a chink in Pujara’s armoury, and even then it might not be enough. But if he can help his side clinch the wicket of Pujara early, it would no doubt prove to be a big dent in the home side’s plan of sticking at the wicket and posting a big total on the board.
Mohammad Shami vs Mahmudullah
Mohammad Shami is arguably India’s most lethal red-ball pace bowler currently, and has led India to numerous victories with this trademark reverse-swing at the forefront of his skillset. Mahmudullah, on the other hand will be hoping to fill the Shakib-sized hole in the Bangladesh side, and it would not be too much of a stretch to say that he is capable of stepping up to the plate and produce performances like those of Shakib’s with both bat and ball. But it’s with the bat that he will need to be at his alert best, and not fall into the trap that Shami will no doubt lay for him. This might prove to be one of the most exciting battles on display when the two sides go head to head not just in Indore, but even beyond that when the pink ball in the Kolkata Test will be even trickier to deal with around dusk.