Bangladesh vs West Indies 1st Test Preview: With Shakib boost, Tigers start firm favourites in home conditions
Shakib Al Hasan's availability, after he injured his groin in the last ODI, comes as a huge relief for Bangladesh.
West Indies have past heroes missing
After West Indies were cleaned up by 3-0 in the ODI series, getting beaten by massive margins of 6 wickets, 7 wickets and 120 runs, the two teams will now square off against each other in a 2-match test series, the first of which will be played at Chattogram.
Bangladesh continue to have the advantage of the home conditions and are better placed to win the test series. The last time West Indies toured Bangladesh, they were beaten 0-2 in the test series, losing the first match by 64 runs while the second one by an innings and 184 runs.
In that series, Shimron Hetmyer was the top run scorer for West Indies with 222 runs from 2 matches at an average of 55.20 with two half centuries. Shane Dowrich also scored 108 with the best of 63 not out. However, both these players are not available to West Indies on this trip which makes matters worse for the visitors.
Similarly, spinners Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase who were among the top wicket takers for West Indies on the last tour are also unavailable.
Bangladesh at full strength
On the other hand, Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan who were among the top run scorers for Bangladesh are available for selection. Mohammadullah was the top run scorer for the side in the last test series against West Indies with 170 runs at an average of 56.66, with the best of 136, but has been dropped from the test set up.
Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque was next with 161 runs with the best of 120. Shakib Al Hasan also scored 115 with the best of 80.
Among the bowlers, off spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz picked up 15 wickets from four innings at a brilliant average of 14.06 and a strike rate of 23.6. Left arm spinner Taijul Islam was equally impressive with 10 wickets at 13.40 and a strike rate of 25.6. Shakib Al Hasan also picked up 9 wickets at 18.33 and all these three spinners are likely to make the Bangladesh playing XI.
Shakib Al Hasan, who suffered a groin injury in the third ODI against West Indies, has been declared fit to play, which comes as a big boost for Bangladesh.
Cornwall, Brathwaite, Campbell star in practice match
West Indies were half-decent in their three-day practice match against Bangladesh Cricket Board XI. Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell added 67 runs for the opening stand in the first innings. While Brathwaite scored 85, Campbell was dismissed for 44. He compensated for it with 68 in the second innings.
The other batsmen to impress for West Indies were Kyle Mayers 40, Joshua Da Silva 46, Nkrumah Bonner 80 and Raymon Reifer 49.
Among the bowlers, Rahkeem Cornwall picked up a 5-wicket haul in Bangladesh's first innings while Jomel Warrican pocketed 3. Reifer picked up 2 wickets in the last innings.
Onus on Brathwaite, Campbell and Blackwood to score
Taking 20 wickets should not be that big an issue for the West Indies bowling attack which has a good mix of spinners in Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican and quality pace bowlers in Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph. However, it will be up to their batsmen to provide their bowlers with runs on the board.
In the absence of Shane Dowrich, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Roston Chase and Shamarh Brooks, the onus will be on Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell and Jermaine Blackwood to score.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva who will be a part of the playing XI, in the absence of Shane Dowrich, will also have to play a crucial role if West Indies have to give Bangladesh a run for their money.
A look at the squads:
Bangladesh - Mominul Haque (c), Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das (wk), Yasir Ali, Saif Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Shadman Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain, Hasan Mahmud
West Indies - Kraigg Brathwaite (c), John Campbell, Jermaine Blackwood, Sheyne Moseley, Nkrumah Bonner, Kavem Hodge, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Kyle Mayers, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Raymon Reifer, Rahkeem Cornwall, Veerasammy Permaul, Jomel Warrican
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