The race for the first two places in the WTC The rankings have become more interesting with India (55.77 PCT) rising to second position after South Africa (54.55 PCT) lost heavily to Australia (76.92 PCT) in the Gabba Two-day test.
The upcoming home series against Australia will be decisive in India’s bid for a second consecutive WTC final, but they also can’t afford any slip-ups against Bangladesh, who showed plenty of fighting in the first. test after a bad first run with the bat.
With regular skipper Rohit Sharma yet to recover from his thumb injury, no changes are expected in the Indian XI.
The first test presented a golden opportunity for the likes Shubman Gill and Kuldeep Yadav and they made it count.
If Rohit had been fit for the game, he would have been extremely difficult to drop Gil after his first Test Cent at Chattogram. However, this situation did not occur and Gill will want to take advantage of another opportunity.
Rahul would also be looking to lead forward after his two-run disappointment in the first Test. Like Chattogram, the ground should be slow and decent for the stick, giving Rahul an ideal platform to get some runs under his belt ahead of the Australian Series.
It would be fair to say that Cheteshwar Pujara, who made a comeback with the single test in England, cemented his number three position with an uncharacteristically attacking 90 and 102 that didn’t come out in the series opener.
It was refreshing to see Pujara aiming his shots as India had to pick up the pace in the second set.
The stage will also be set for Virat Kohli to score his first Test cent since November 2019.
India hit over four runs per over in the second set and it remains to be seen if this positive approach was just the need of the hour or a sign of things to come.
Given the conditions, bowlers will again look to target stumps, whether it be the point guards or the slower bowlers.
Kuldeep, playing his first Test since February last year, displayed his artistry with an eight wicket match. Compared to main spinner R Ashwin and Axar Patelhe was slightly under-bowled in the second set but the left arm wrist spinner still managed to take three wickets.
Ashwin could only manage one wicket in rotation-friendly conditions and he will be looking to make up for that here.
Axar showed his usefulness to the team with four strikes in the second inning, the batters struggling against his quick left arm rotation.
Bangladesh will also be confident in their chances considering how they beat on day four. Rookie fly-half Zakir Hasan has shown he belongs at this level. Senior drummers, including Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim will aim to learn from their mistakes and make hundreds.
Captain Shakib Al Hasan did not play in the second set due to injury and that is why Bangladesh added left arm spinner Nasum Ahmed to the squad. Nasum is expected to make his Test debut on Thursday.
Former captain Mominul Haque could also get a game.
“He would be the first to admit that last year he didn’t have any points. But he’s too good a player not to have it. You can’t lose a player of Mominul’s quality. He will definitely be considered for the second Test,” said head coach Russell Domingo.
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
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