Bangladesh will play India in the first of two tests, beginning in Chittagong on December 14th. The match is due to begin at 9.30 am local time.
Revenge will be on Indian minds after they were beaten in the ODI series, although they did thrash their opponents on this ground in the third match on Saturday, with Ishan Kishan’s maiden double century the main feature.
That was not enough, though, to compensate for two earlier narrow defeats in Mirpur.
More pertinently, perhaps, there are potentially valuable World Test Championship points on the line for India. A win in this series would provide a major boost to their hopes of playing in another final of the competition, this time at the Oval next June.
World Test Championship (WTC) Standings
India are currently fourth in the standings, which are led by Australia who have strengthened their position by thrashing the West Indies at home in their own test series.
However, Sri Lanka, who are just ahead of India, have only two tests left to play, both away in New Zealand, where the odds will be stacked against them.
South Africa, are currently second, and, although they conclude the cycle with a home series against the West Indies, before that they need to play three matches in Australia, where they will start second favourites.
That opens the door for India if they can win both their matches in Bangladesh, because they conclude their fixtures in the current iteration of the WTC with a four match home series against the Australians in the New Year.
Head to head
Certainly history favours the tourists. The two teams have faced each other 11 times before in test cricket and Bangladesh have yet to win a match. India have won nine of those previous matches, whilst two ended in draws.
One of those draws came the last time the pair played test match cricket against each other in Bangladesh back in 2015.
Their last test meeting though was on Indian soil back in 2019, India winning both tests on that occasion.
Both teams will be fielding different captains from the ODI series.
For Bangladesh, Shakib Al-Hasan is fit again and is back to leading the side, enabling Litton Das to resume his normal duties.
Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the first test, at least, for India with the dislocated thumb he suffered in the second ODI, and his deputy for the third ODI, Shikhar Dhawan, is no longer part of the Indian test team.
That means KL Rahul will skipper the team, with Cheteshwar Pujara his number two for this series.
Jadeja’s welcome return
One man whom India will be glad to welcome back is all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
The 33-year old has not played for his country since suffering a knee injury playing in the Asia Cup in August, which required surgery and also ruled him out of contention for the World Cup.
With Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav also likely to play, India will have a very strong spin attack on a pitch that is likely to offer some turn, especially as it deteriorates.
The weather forecast for the duration of the match is for it to be dry and mainly sunny. Temperatures should peak in the high 20s Celsius.
Like many pitches on the sub-continent, the pitch in Chittagong is flat and should favour the batters in the opening days. However, as the pitch wears, it will become more difficult, and the spinners should then come into their own.
The side that wins the toss will want to bat first, because the fourth innings on this surface is likely to be very tricky. The average score for teams batting last here is just 215.
Bangladesh playing in home conditions are never an easy proposition and they will have their tails up after that ODI series win.
India, though, have every incentive to do well, knowing that their WTC fate is in their own hands.
Given that this may come down to a battle of the spinners later in the match, the onus will be on the batters to take full advantage of the conditions whilst the going is good.
That should favour the visitors who, on paper at least, have the stronger batting line-up.
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