Hyd Test: Formidable India awaits Bangladesh

Ajinkya Rahane will be back for the host in place of triple centurion Karun Nair, while Jayant Yadav is likely to come in for the injured Amit Mishra. Bangladesh will be relying heavily on Shakib-Al-Hasan to put up a fight against the number one ranked team.

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara during the practice session; Rahane is likely to come back into the team in place of Karun Nair.   -  K.R Deepak

Bangladesh may be battered and bruised. Like a prize fighter, it may buckle, but refuse to give in. “I think they have the skill. They just don’t play that many Test matches to gain confidence as a squad. It’s very basic,” observed Indian skipper Virat Kohli on the eve of the one-off Test unfolding at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium from Thursday.

“If you don’t play Test cricket very often, you will never understand the mindset. That’s where it comes from. They have beaten all the sides in one-day cricket, because they know how to play the format. You can practice as much as you want, but game time is important,” he stressed.

Read: >Kumble says maintaining momentum the key

Respect for the rival was evident. “Ability is going to be there. It’s the mindset that changes from format to format. I am sure that if they play more Test cricket they will become solid Test players and a solid Test team as well,” Kohli acknowledged.

Bangladesh is no more the minnow it was seen as, even if it sits only above Zimbabwe in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) current rankings! Since taking its first steps in the game’s longest format in 2000, it has racked up no less than 15 totals upwards of 400.

Read: >India v Bangladesh: Head to Head

If sceptics sneer that those were mostly recorded on home pitches, its highest tally of 638 was against Sri Lanka in Galle. More recently it declared at a commanding 595 for eight against New Zealand in Wellington last month. What better way for Bangladesh to gain international attention than by standing up to its big brother across the border.

India, perched at the top of the pile, is the monarch of all it surveys. The ambition that marked its earlier campaigns, was backed by its captain’s confidence this time too, but tempered with realism. “No team is invincible, no team unbeatable. In cricket, there are always opportunities for both sides at different stages of the game, more so in Test matches. One session or one hour of good cricket can switch the direction. We understand that. We have been able to win games because of persistence by the bowlers, application by the batsmen and coming back from tough situations,” declared Kohli.

READ: >Bangladesh not a pushover anymore

Whether the face-off would be between Bangladesh’s spinners and the host’s batsmen, Kohli said, “It’s an equal battle. You can’t discount Bangladesh batting as well. They were outstanding in New Zealand; outstanding effort to score more than 350 runs in one day. It’s phenomenal going at 4.5 runs an over throughout the day. So we can't take any aspect of their team lightly.”

“This is the opportunity to catch up or match up with the No. 1 team,” said Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim. On his team’s showing tapering towards the finish, the wicket-keeper batsman said, “We were not switched on to every ball. Five days need mental toughness.”

“Batsmen in the top seven are responsible for starting well and building on those starts. In Test cricket, 60-70-80 runs is not enough. If they can get starts, they should be able to play long innings. At the same time, no one player can score big if he doesn’t get support. So two-three players will score big, and the other batsmen must score 30-40 to support them. They are training and working hard, so hopefully it will happen in this Test,” added Rahim of his aspirations for what lay ahead.

Did insecurity cause Bangladesh’s second innings to flounder after flourishing in the first? Coach Chandika Hathurasingha attributed it more to concentration. “The more you play five-day cricket that's the only way to improve, for batsmen to concentrate for a long time and play under pressure.”

The teams (from):

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain and wicket-keeper), Shakib Al Hasan, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Mominul Haque, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Mosaddek Hossain, Subhashis Roy, Liton Das and Shafiul Islam. Coach: Chandika Hathurasingha.

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Jayant Yadav and Umesh Yadav. Coach: Anil Kumble.

Match officials: Referee: Andy Pycroft. Umpires: Paul Wilson, Marais Erasmus. TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney. Fourth umpire: Nitin Menon. DRS Tech: Adam Corbett.

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