With a long injury list, Bangladesh are severely toned down.
After enduring a 3-0 clean sweep against Pakistan, Bangladesh will face a sterner test as they start their World Test Championship campaign from November 26 in Chattogram. Pakistan have hardly been challenged in the series hitherto, with Bangladesh not being able to emulate performances even half as impressive as they did against Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.
The recent clean sweep has only prolonged their rut after the 2021 T20 World Cup, where Mahmudullah and men failed to even open account in the main draw, losing each of their five Super12 fixtures. Rather contrastingly, Pakistan did not put a foot wrong until they ran into the eventual champions Australia, who pushed them out in the semi-final.
While Bangladesh lacked the bite needed to defeat accomplished sides like Pakistan, they would hope for a change of fortunes with the format change. That said, they have historically struggled against their Asian rivals, having lost ten of the 11 completed fixtures since 2001; the only remaining instance was the drawn encounter in Khulna in 2015.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have every reason to be high on confidence, even if their rivals ran them close in the third and final encounter, which the visitors won not before a drama-laced last ball of the chase.
Babar Azam, the top-scorer at the T20 World Cup, may have failed to carry his stellar form into this series – his scores read 7, 1 and 19 – but he is confident about facing the coming challenge. “Moving forward we would like to keep the momentum [from the T20I series] in Test matches and we have experienced players in the Test team,” he said on match eve.
Pakistan have plenty of reliable Test options in the middle-order, including the majestic Fawad Alam alongside skipper Azam, Azhar Ali and Mohammad Rizwan. In Shaheen Afridi, they have a world-class pacer who can challenge any batter in any conditions without fail, while the experience of Hasan Ali make the attack only more daunting.
Despite playing at home, there would not be many advantages for Bangladesh to exploit, as not only Pakistan would feel at home in the sub-continent conditions, but Bangladesh have to also counter the absence of the experienced trio of Mahmudullah, who confirmed his Test retirement recently, and Tamim Iqbal (thumb fracture) and Shakib Al Hasan (hamstring niggle). As if that is not a sufficient dent, Taskin Ahmed (hand) and Shoriful Islam (back) will sit out too.
With as many names missing from the hosts’ ranks, it should not be difficult to predict who start the series as favourites.
Pitch and conditions
Pakistan have won both Tests they have played at the Chattogram thus far by an innings margin: by an innings and 169 runs in 2002 and an innings and 184 runs in 2011. Those losses aside, Bangladesh do not have recent happy memories in Chattogram even otherwise, as they ended up conceding a game after setting West Indies 395 for win in one of the most classic Tests ever played.
Putting up runs on the board remains an ideal choice despite that heroic chase as the venue has had a batter-friendly reputation. Having said that, the spinners will enjoy their time as the game progresses.
Playing combination for BAN vs PAK
With a long injury list, Bangladesh are severely toned down. Uncapped opener Mahmudul Hasan, Bangladesh’s top-scorer at U19 World Cup 2020, and pacer Reajur Rahman Raja are in line for their Test debuts, as is middle-order batter Yasir Ali.
Predicted XI: Shadman Islam, Mahmudul Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (c), Mushfiqur Rahim, Yasir Ali, Liton Das (wk), Taijul Islam, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain
Pakistan named their XII ahead of the first Test. Apart from their experienced quartet in the middle-order, they would hope openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abid Ali, who scored a double-century against Zimbabwe earlier this year, provide them some notable start.
Pakistan will be missing their experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who is not a part of the series owing to a thumb injury. Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali and off-spinner Sajid Khan, who debuted earlier this year against Zimbabwe, will have to fill that void.
Predicted XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sajid Khan
BAN vs PAK Head-to-Head
Played – 12 | Pakistan – 10 | Bangladesh – 0 | Draw/Cancelled – 2
Played – 6 | Pakistan – 5 | Bangladesh – 0 | Draw – 1
BAN vs PAK Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 9:30 AM Local
Live Streaming– Fancode
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