India vs Bangladesh: Teams ponder selection choices ahead of Pink Test debut

Adithya Sundar 14:13 21/11/2019
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Image - BCCI/ Twitter

The pink ball beckons for India and Bangladesh as Eden Gardens is set to host Asia’s first day-night Test.

India have taken an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series after swatting aside the Tigers in under three days, winning by an innings and 130 runs at Indore.

Despite the heavy defeat in the first match, the visitors should believe that they do have an outside chance of causing an upset given the fact that both teams will be playing a Test under lights for the first time.

Sighting the ball during the twilight and the dew are some of the factors that have the players worried but here, we look a look at some of the other key talking points going into this match.

Wrist-spinners or medium pacers

The shiny pink ball on a grassy surface may not assist spinners much. With the dew settling in the evening session, the finger-spinners may struggle to grip the ball. This would pose different questions for the two teams.

For India, they might have to exclude either Ravi Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja and possibly bring in wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav. However, that would affect their five batsmen strategy, given Kuldeep’s modest batting prowess.

Bangladesh don’t have a wrist-spinner in their Test squad but they could bring in Mustafizur Rahman in place of Taijul Islam and play a lone spinner in Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

Mustafizur, who has been in poor form of late, is a skiddy bowler and so, a ball with an extra coat of lacquer and a green playing surface, could be all he needs to rediscover his bowling strengths.

Rohit Sharma and Eden Gardens

Indian opener Rohit Sharma returns to his theater of dreams at Kolkata. It is the stadium where he has struck a century in red-ball cricket, plus a century and double century in white-ball cricket.

The 32-year-old made his Test debut at Eden Gardens and played a memorable knock, scoring 177 against the West Indies.

Sharma, who has made a terrific start to life as India’s new Test opener,  has a great sense of occasion and given the setting, could be the one to step up for India.

A shot at redemption for Bangladesh batsman

Top-order batsman Saif Hassan suffered an injury while fielding as a substitute in the first Test at Indore, leaving Bangladesh with no reserve batsman for the second Test.

It has almost been a year since Bangladesh won a Test match.  During this interim, they lost against Afghanistan in which their batsmen couldn’t negotiate spin in home conditions.

More worryingly, their defeats against teams that boast superior pace attacks have all been losses by a margin of an innings. That includes two defeats at New Zealand and one at Indore.

Against a relentless Indian bowling attack, it is imperative that the top-order spends time in the middle and remain patient against the new ball.

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