Pakistan v Bangladesh 1st Test Preview: Onus on Tamim as Tigers expect to run Babar's Boys close
Rawalpindi will get to witness more international action with the first Test of the split two-match series being held here, beginning on Friday.
Venue - Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
Start on/at - Friday Feb 7, 05:00 AM GMT | 10:00 AM PKT
Head to Head record in Tests - Pakistan: 9 Bangladesh: 0 Draw: 1
Weather - Sunny, 17°C, Precipitation: 0%, Humidity: 50%, Wind: 13 km/h
Win the toss, bowl first
The Rawalpindi cricket stadium in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi with a capacity of 15,000, will hold this match. A total of nine Test matches have been played at this venue, with three ending in a draw. Out of the remaining six, the team batting first has won just one while the team bowling first has won five.
This is against the convention that the team winning the toss should bat first on a flat batting pitch. The reason behind this is that the surface crumbles quickly and by the time the last session on day three arrives, plenty of spin is on offer. The average score batting first here is 306 and hence, another high-scoring game is expected.
The last match that was played here was between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in December last year. Due to incessant rain, the match ended in a banal draw.
Pakistan finally got to host a Test series on home soil after a long time and won 1-0 against Sri Lanka. While the first match was drawn due to inclement weather, the team registered a dominating 263-run win in the 2nd Test at Karachi.
On the other hand, Bangladesh are coming off a totally one-sided defeat against India. However, several of their personnel have been changed and the team would expect to put on a far more competitive performance.
Pakistan beginning to figure out best XI
Opener Abid Ali was the top-scorer in Pakistan's last Test series against Sri Lanka and scored two centuries, including a daddy hundred of 174. Babar Azam was also on song and scored centuries in both the games. Skipper Azhar Ali, who dropped himself at one down, showed signs of coming back to form with an average of over 50 in his three innings. Shan Masood also looked good.
While Mohammad Abbas, after a forgettable tour of Australia, was back to his tight line and lengths, the most impressive bowlers for Pakistan were Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, both of whom picked up a fifer each. Afridi was the top wicket-taker of the series with 8 wickets while Shah finished with 7 wickets.
There would be pressure on the seasoned leg spinner Yasir Shah, who failed to make an impact against Sri Lanka in the Karachi Test and has been leaking a lot of runs since a long time now.
Bangladesh hopes pinned on Tamim
Mushfiqur Rahim was the top-scorer for Bangladesh with an average of over 45 in the two-match Test series against India. But, he will not be touring Pakistan due to personal issues and will be sorely missed.
Bangladesh would be happy that experienced opener Tamim Iqbal is back. Iqbal was in top form as he struck a triple century in a domestic game in Bangladesh recently. He is likely to pair with Soumya Sarkar. Bangladesh have dropped both the openers Imrul Kayes and Shadman Islam, who could not make an impact in the last series against India.
In the bowling department, Abu Jayed and Al-Amin Hossain will be their top picks while there will be a toss-up between Rubel Hossain and Ebadat Hossain for the third pacer's spot. In the absence of Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam will play this Test in all certainty.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque (c), Liton Das (wk), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudullah, Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed Chowdhury Rahi, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain/Ebadat Hossain
This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:
Pakistan: PTV sports
Bangladesh: Gazi TV (GTV)
India: Sony Network
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
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