Cricket

Indian speedsters will hope to decimate Bangladesh batsmen

The Indians will want to continue their good form in the white flannels this year

The Indians will want to continue their good form in the white flannels this year   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

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The primary objective for Mominul’s troop is to at least be competitive

Thanks to the much-anticipated day-night Test scheduled at Eden Garden next week, pink may have been the theme at the Holkar Stadium here in the lead-up to India’s first of the two Tests against Bangladesh as part of the World Test Championship (WTC).

But by the time captain Virat Kohli will stride to the middle along with his counterpart Mominul Haque for the toss on Thursday morning, green may emerge as the colour for the remaining week.

Not because of the colour of the all-new Bangladesh captain’s blazer — carried by a senior journalist who arrived in the street-food capital of India — but due to the tinge of green on the Holkar Stadium’s strip. While the pitch, which will host its second Test, appeared to be starkly different than the one used for the debut Test three years ago, the live grass cover may have made India’s unstoppable pace unit ready to spew venom against a beleaguered Bangladesh line-up.

Soon after making the conditions redundant and outshining the opposition pacers during the South Africa series last month, the Indian speedsters would be hoping to decimate the Bangladesh batsmen. And with the conditions in their favour, the three-pronged pace attack — with veteran Ishant Sharma set to regain his place in the starting line-up along with Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav — would be hoping to help India snare 60 more points in the WTC.

With 240 points from two of the six series, India already has accumulated more points than all other teams’ combined tally in the WTC. And Bangladesh will have to play out of its skin to deprive the home team from crossing the triple-century mark this week.

While India has been at its all-time best in the white flannels this year, Bangladesh has its back to the wall in the longest version. As if a loss to Test infants Afghanistan at home hadn’t lowered its morale, it was followed by a stand-off between the senior players and the cricket Board ahead of the India series. To make matters worse, Shakib Al Hasan, the leading all-rounder, was found guilty of corruption charges and was suspended and experienced opener Tamim Iqbal was ruled out of the India tour.

With all these factors against them, the primary objective for young Mominul’s troop is to at least be competitive against India, which has been ruthless against oppositions in Tests. The fate of the series, in terms of result, appears to be all but sealed even before it begins.

But as a larger picture, besides the WTC points table, the series will be significant in two aspects: Indore as the venue and pink-ball Test the following week.

Soon after captain Kohli made a vocal demand to restrict Test cricket in India to five conventional venues, Indore — touted as mini-Mumbai — is set to stake a claim to be retained as a Test venue.

Despite the match being virtually a no-contest, more than 12,000 season tickets have been sold and the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association executives are confident that at least two-third of the 27,000 seats will be occupied right through the match.

And the pink-ball Test countdown is generating buzz, as was evident during a mini-huddle next to pitch involving some of India’s senior players and match officials, all of whom were inspecting the pink ball carefully. For the time being, though, it’s time to focus on the tinge of green at Holkar.

The teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (w.k.), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant (w.k.), Hanuma Vihari and Kuldeep Yadav.

Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Saif Hassan and Nayeem Hasam.

Live on Star Sports at 9.30 a.m.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 10:37:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indian-speedsters-will-hope-to-decimate-bangladesh-batsmen/article29963971.ece

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