If the first Test in Chittagong was anything to go by, the spinners will yet again have a gala time at the Shere Bangla National Stadium. The spin quartet of Taijul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Nayeem Hasan and Mehidy Hasan played a stellar role in the opening game and are expected to do much of the same in the second Test starting on Friday (November 30). Unless Kraigg Brathwaite & Co can conjure a more prudent approach, the second Test might well go down in the same direction as the first.
Shakib, back to leading the side after a long injury break which has kept him in and out of the side the whole year, looked at his best in the first encounter while Taijul who has picked up 26 wickets in his last three Tests has made his presence felt in the side on a regular basis.
Nayeem, the new kid on the block, and Mehedi both were outstanding in the first Test with the former also becoming the youngest ever bowler to take a five-wicket haul on debut.
Bangladesh went with just one pacer in Mustafizur Rahman in the Chittagong and he too could get a total of just four overs in the whole Test as spin accounted for all 20 wickets. With conditions likely to be the same in Dhaka as well, Bangladesh might well opt for the same combination.
While the bowling has been top notch, the batting still is a work in progress for the hosts. Barring Mominul Haque’s 120 in the first innings none of the batsmen had much going their way with the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Shakib all failing to make much of an impact.
They were bowled out for just 125 in the second innings but were bailed out by their bowlers. With the Windies getting a hang of the surfaces, the hosts will know they can’t afford a repeat of the collapse in Dhaka.
The visitors, on the other hand, will be keen to make amends after an insipid show in the opening Test. The batsmen will remain in the spotlight again with the likes of captain Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope and Roston Chase all needing to fire. Shimron Hetmyer and Shane Dowrich did show some positive signs with half-centuries so did Sunil Ambris in the second innings but if the Windies need to stage a comeback they will have to come up with a plan and find a way to tackle the spin bowlers.
The trio of Jomel Warrican, Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase will have their work cut out in the absence of Jason Holder and now Shannon Gabriel, who has been suspended for the second Test after accumulating five demerit points in a period of 24 months. Keemo Paul or Sherman Lewis might replace the pacer.
There are changes expected in the Bangladesh side as well with the hosts fretting over Mushfiqur Rahim’s finger injury that he sustained in the build up to the game. Liton Das has been kept as standby incase the wicketkeeper is not fit. Meanwhile, Shadman Islam is also set to make his debut after opener Imrul Kayes was ruled out due with a shoulder injury.
Shakib though sounded confident of Mushfiqur's availability for the second Test.
"We are keeping Liton as a back-up plan because in case if his (Rahim's) pain increases or it swells further we can have a back-up plan and that is why we included Liton. But what I know is he will play and do both (batting and keeping)," he said.
"We all know who will open for us. If Rahim bhai is not available for 'keeping which is very unlikely. In that case, Liton will do the wicketkeeping. I think it will be very difficult to keep wickets and open the batting."
It is expected to be hot in Dhaka on Friday with temperatures soaring into the mid 30s. The surface is likely to take turn from the outset.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Soumya Sarker, Mohammad Mithun, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmud Ullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Naeem Hasan, Ariful Haque, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Shadman Islam.
Windies: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Shermon Lewis, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican.
First Published: November 29, 2018, 5:56 PM IST