India’s batsmen may have to work harder for the runs in the second and final Test against Bangladesh beginning in Mirpur on Thursday.
The wicket at the Sher-eBangla National Stadium in Mirpur usually tends to be slow and sluggish with spinners getting more and more assistance as the game progresses. But according to sources in the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), the wicket is unlikely to be flat like that of the first Test in Chittagong, while the moisture on the surface early in the morning should be of help to the quicks.
“It won’t be too easy for the batters here in Mirpur. The wicket won’t be too different from the ones that were in use during the ODI series,” one BCB source said on Tuesday.
“Besides, it’s winter now, so there will be a little bit in the pitch to aid the fast bowlers in the morning session. After that, it will start assisting the spinners more.
“Yes, the last time when a Test was played here (back in May), Sri Lanka had scored 500-plus runs (506 in the first innings). But this pitch appears to be quite different. A total of 350 could well be as good as 450 or more. Batters will have to graft and work hard for the runs,” the source added.
Bowling-wise though, India needn’t worry much as their spinners, led by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, had done a fair job that helped the visitors win the opening Test by 188 runs. Alongside Kuldeep, his fellow left-arm spinner Axar Patel too had contributed, taking four wickets in the second innings.
Quicks Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are also better placed than their Bangladeshi counterparts. Though they didn’t bowl as many overs as the spinners in Chittagong, they made sure to be economical, giving adequate support to the spinners.
Siraj, however, had done a fine job in the first innings of the previous game, striking thrice off the 13 overs he had bowled and conceding only 20 runs. Besides, if there’s assistance for the pacers in the morning in Mirpur, Siraj and Umesh could certainly turn out to be more effective given the frailties of Bangladesh’sbatting.
Talking about India’s batting, the form of opener Shubman Gill, No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara and Shreyas Iyer bodes well for the side.
But KL Rahul, who will be leading India again as regular skipper Rohit Sharma has been ruled out — which the BCCI confirmed on Tuesday — has been short of runs and needs a solid knock to be in a better frame of mind for the home Tests against Australia.
In his last five Test innings, Rahul aggregated only 75 runs with 23 being his highest score. The stand-in captain had a discussion at length with head coach Rahul Dravid during India’s optional training session in Mirpur on Tuesday.
Whether the discussion with Dravid bears fruit for Rahul remains to be seen. But India for sure need Rahul, who’s one of their premier batsmen, to be in good rhythm as they need to win this second Test and consolidate their position at No.2 in the World Test Championship standings.
Whether Rohit, who’s continuing his rehab, will be back for the Sri Lanka series next month or not remains uncertain. A release sent out by the BCCI said: “The (Board) medical team is of the opinion that the injury (in Rohit’s left thumb) needs some more time to heal completely before the Indian captain cat bat and field with full intensity.”
Pacer Navdeep Saini too has been ruled out of the second Test owing to an abdominal muscle strain.