October 28-November 1, Dhaka
Start time 10.00am (0400GMT)
Butcher: England will want to look at Ansari
The fluctuating fortunes of the Chittagong Test will be a hard act to follow but, if Bangladesh continue to chase a win, the Dhaka Test could be another interesting affair. Having been beaten in an ODI series at home for the first time in two years, salvaging a drawn Test series with England would be the suitable finish for the home side.
For that to happen, though, they need to do a few things properly. Bangladesh’s top seven is the strongest they have had in their history, which puts a lot of the onus on putting together a 400-plus total in the first innings to set up the game. It is an effort that is well within their grasp, particularly with their openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes showing good form.
Both will be expected to put up at least one big partnership in this game, with Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim asked to make big on their starts, while Shakib Al Hasan must find a way to curb his recklessness. Sabbir Rahman, meanwhile, has recovered from stomach pain and can be expected to take on the second new ball while batting at No 7.
England have also stuck with the top six that played in Chittagong. Ben Duckett is yet to show his wide-ranging skills while the more experienced Alastair Cook and Joe Root will expect to make runs in Dhaka. Gary Ballance could be a tense presence, fighting to extend his run in the side, but there won’t be the same issues with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, who had a brilliant game in Chittagong.
Stokes’ ability to reverse the ball could sway the game towards England, though he will need support from Chris Woakes and Steven Finn, who has been confirmed as a replacement for the rested Stuart Broad. England’s spinners will ultimately have to do the bulk of the bowling, especially Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. Zafar Ansari has been confirmed for a Test debut, replacing Gareth Batty.
The Bangladesh bowling attack will bear a similar look in Dhaka too, with Shakib leading the pack. He will be glad to have the support of Mehedi Hasan and Taijul Islam, though the pace bowling department looks bare. Shuvagata Hom, for once, seems like a better choice as a fourth spinner.
The batting skills to tackle spin and reverse swing, and DRS, could be the theme of this Test match too, though rain, thanks to Cyclone Kryant over the Bay of Bengal, could cause interruptions. If there’s a full game, the hope is that it pans out to be another good contest.
(completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Mehedi Hasan left a mark on his Test debut by finishing the game with seven wickets. His first-innings performance was immense as he showed his ability to turn the ball at great lengths, as well as bowl the one that goes straight with the arm. Mehedi, however, would like to contribute more with the bat.
The Chittagong Test ultimately belonged to Ben Stokes, who came of age with a superb all-round performance. His use of reverse swing and his footwork and patience when batting against spin were particularly encouraging. England are certainly a more powerful line-up with Stokes.
Bangladesh will be looking at three different options to replace Shafiul Islam. They could still go with a two-man seam attack by picking Subashis Roy, who would be making his Test debut. But the place is also open for Soumya Sarkar to play as a second seamer though his variety would be of less quality, or they could go for Shuvagata, who hasn’t had a great Test record.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt/wk), 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Soumya Sarkar/Shuvagata Hom, 9 Mehedi Hasan, 10 Taijul Islam, 11 Kamrul Islam Rabbi
England are set to hand a Test debut to Ansari, while Finn will take Broad’s place – meaning he has to wait to make his 100th Test appearance. Ansari is replacing Batty as England look to give Rashid another chance despite his indifferent performance in Chittagong.
England 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ben Duckett, 3 Joe Root, 4 Gary Ballance, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Zafar Ansari, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Steven Finn
Pitch and conditions
After the Chittagong pitch was hailed for challenging the batsmen and bowlers, there is much interest in the darker surface in Dhaka, which has traditionally favoured the batsmen. Even if it helps the spinners, there won’t be the dramatic turn and bounce of Chittagong. There is some rain in the forecast on the second and third day.
Stats and trivia
- Mushfiqur Rahim will become the third Bangladeshi after Habibul Bashar and Mohammad Ashraful to play 50 Tests.
- Mushfiqur will also become Bangladesh’s most experienced wicketkeeper, beating Khaled Mashud who kept wickets in 44 Tests. Mushfiqur will be keeping in his 45th game in Dhaka.
- Jonny Bairstow now has the most runs for a Test wicketkeeper in a calendar year, beating Zimbabwe’s Andy Flower who made 1045 runs in 2000.
- A 2-0 series win for England would lift them above Australia to No. 3 in the ICC rankings.
“The Dhaka Test will be played on a different soil altogether. We don’t know how it will behave but I just want our spinners to take advantage from the wicket and for the batsmen to be more responsible.”
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is expecting a different contest to Chittagong
“It was always the plan to play Ansari in one Test here. He has the ability to take the ball away from the right-handers and I’ve seen in the nets is he can bowl at good pace with good control. He can also bat as well, which is good.”
England captain Alastair Cook sings the praises of his newest team-mate
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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