Stand-in skipper KL Rahul would be eager to overcome his lean patch as India are expected go for the kill in the second Test against Bangladesh, beginning In Mirpur on Thursday, to strengthen their position in the World Test Championship. The race for the top-two spots in the WTC standings has become more interesting with India (55.77 PCT) moving up to the second position following South Africa’s (54.55 PCT) heavy loss to Australia (76.92 PCT) in two-day Gabba Test.
The upcoming home series against Australia will be decisive in India’s bid for a second straight WTC final but they also can’t afford any slip-ups against Bangladesh, who showed plenty of fight in the first Test after a poor first innings with the bat.
With regular skipper Rohit Sharma yet to recover from his thumb injury, no changes are expected in the Indian playing eleven. The first Test presented a golden opportunity for the likes Shubman Gill and Kuldeep Yadav and they made it count.
Had Rohit been fit for the game, it would have been extremely difficult to drop Gill following his maiden Test hundred in Chattogram. However, that situation did not arise and Gill will be keen to cash in on another opportunity.
Rahul too would look to lead from the front after the disappointment of his two innings in the first Test. Like Chattogram, the pitch is expected to be slow and decent for batting, providing Rahul an ideal platform to get runs under his belt before the Australia series. It would be fair to say that Cheteshwar Pujara, who made a comeback with the one-off Test in England, has consolidated his number three position with a 90 and an unusually attacking 102 not out in the series-opener.
It was refreshing to see Pujara going for his shots as India needed to accelerate in the second innings.
The stage will also be set for Virat Kohli to score his first Test hundred since November 2019.
India batted at more than four runs per over in the second innings and it remains to be seen if that positive approach was only the need of the hour or a sign of things to come.
Considering the conditions, the bowlers will once again be looking to target the stumps, be it the pacers or slower bowlers.
Kuldeep, playing his first Test since February last year, flaunted his artistry with a match haul of eight wickets. Compared to lead spinner R Ashwin and Axar Patel, he was slightly under-bowled in the second innings but the left-arm wrist spinner still managed to take three wickets.
Ashwin could manage only one wicket in spin friendly conditions and he will be looking to make up for that here.
Axar displayed his utility to the team with four strikes in the second innings with the batters struggling against his fast left-arm spin. Bangladesh too will be confident of their chances given how they batted on day four. Rookie opener Zakir Hasan has shown he belongs at this level. Senior batters including Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim will be aiming to learn from their mistakes and make big hundreds.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan did not bowl in the second innings due to an injury and that is why Bangladesh have added left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed to the squad. Nasum is likely to make his Test debut on Thursday.
Former captain Mominul Haque too could get a game.
“He’d be the first to admit that in last year he hasn’t got the runs. But he is too good a player to not have around. You cannot lose a player of Mominul’s quality. He will definitely be considered for the second Test,” said head coach Russell Domingo. Squads: Bangladesh: Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Yasir Ali, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Khaled Ahmed, Zakir Hasan, Rejaur Rahman Raja.
India: KL Rahul (C), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara (VC), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), KS Bharat (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Saurabh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat.
Match starts 9 am IST.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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