Spinners set to dominate as India hunt for 2-0

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India will look for another all-round performance in Dhaka to give them a 2-0 series win and strengthen their chances of reaching the World Test Championship final. They crushed the home side in Chattogram, outperforming them at vital moments with someone or the other stepping up to keep them in front.

Cheteshwar Pujara played two good knocks while Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin also did their job with the bat. Kuldeep Yadav had a good all-round outing with Mohammed Siraj critical in the first innings and Axar Patel picking up the key wickets in the second. The Chattogram pitch eased up after a tricky first day and became an excellent one to bat on, testing the bowlers’ stamina and persistence. The Shere Bangla National Stadium, however, is known for its raging turners, and might demand a different set of skills, particularly from the batters.

India’s bowling will be quite handy here. Siraj may get some lateral movement but the bulk of the workload may fall on Ashwin, Kuldeep and Axar. Where they had to be up for bowling long spells in Chattogram, they can expect a little more assistance here.

Bangladesh face an uphill task. Many believe their greatest challenge is to motivate themselves to be more consistent, but there were certainly moments in Chattogram when they fell short of India in the technical and tactical departments too. The likes of Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim have to lead them out of this rut. Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hossain Shanto have to follow up their good work from Chattogram too, with India likely to have come up with new plans for the former, who made a century on debut.

Bangladesh’s big disadvantage is that Shakib Al Hasan is unlikely to bowl due to his shoulder and rib cage injuries. It may force Bangladesh to either play with four bowlers or drop a batter, or perhaps leave Nurul Hasan out to make room for an extra bowler, with Litton or Mushfiqur taking the keeper’s gloves. They prefer playing with seven full batters, so that may not happen, but whichever way it goes, expect a fast-moving contest in Dhaka with wickets falling in clusters.

Form guide

Bangladesh LLLLD (last five Tests, most recent first)

In the spotlight

He doesn’t play often, but on a Chattogram pitch that offered slow turn, Kuldeep Yadav was a handful in his first Test after nearly two years. He ran through Bangladesh’s middle order and took 5 for 40 in the first innings, and played a key supporting role in the second with three more wickets. Kuldeep is expected to come into the game even more in Dhaka, where the ball also tends to keep low, especially with his ability to change trajectory subtly. Kuldeep’s other advantage is the total lack of practice Bangladesh’s batters get against left-arm wristspin, even in the nets.

Zakir Hasan made a fairytale entrance at the highest level with a debut Test century in Chattogram. Last month, he wasn’t originally picked in the Bangladesh A squad, but a few strokes of luck and a backs-to-the-wall 173 in Cox’s Bazar put him in the selectors’ radar. The fourth-innings century in Chattogram has sealed his spot for the Dhaka Test, and a bit of consistency will cement a long-term place.

Team news

Shakib Al Hasan playing only as a batter almost ensures Bangladesh will play with four specialist bowlers. Taskin Ahmed is likely to replace Ebadot Hossain, who is out with a back injury.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 2 Zakir Hasan, 3 Yasir Ali, 4 Litton Das, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Ebadot Hossain, 11 Khaled Ahmed

India’s playing XI from Chattogram – six batters and the two allrounders among the three spinners – is perfectly suited for Dhaka too. With Rohit Sharma ruled out again, India won’t have to make the difficult call of leaving out either Shubman Gill or KL Rahul.

India (probable): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 KL Rahul (capt), 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Shreyas Iyer, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Mohammed Siraj

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium will assist spinners for most of the Test, with run-scoring likely to be at its easiest on the first day. Expect the team winning the toss to bat first, and avoid having to bat in the fourth innings. The weather is expected to be dry.

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