Chittagong: Both teams are well-stocked on the spin front, but the Chittagong weather could also bring the fast bowlers into play, making life hard for batsmen in the one-off Test between Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
This will be the ultimate battle of spinners. On one side stand Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan and Mehidy Hasan; on the other are Mohammad Nabi and Zahir Khan. Even the two captains, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan, are the leading spinners of their respective sides. But in rainy Chittagong, fast bowlers are in with a shot as well. In short, batsmen are going to have it tough in this one-off Test.
This will be Afghanistan's first Test since their maiden win in the format over Ireland earlier this year. On the one previous occasion that they played an Asian team in their conditions, against India in their long-format debut, they were beaten by an innings and 262 runs inside two days in Bengaluru.
Bangladesh are just as strong at home, and equally capable of inflicting similar damage, and in that remains new captain Rashid's challenge. That task has already been made significantly harder due to the absence of Mohammad Shahzad, their talismanic opener, who has been suspended for a year by the Afghanistan Cricket Board for a code of conduct breach, an ICC report said.
Bangladesh have been on a bit of a downward curve, having lost six of their last seven internationals, starting from the closing stages of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019. After bowing out of that tournament, which they finished eighth out of ten teams, they were swept 3-0 by Sri Lanka in an ODI series away from home. That, however, was in the absence of Shakib, their World Cup hero and among the top three all-rounders in the world in Test cricket. His arrival will hugely uplift the team, as they seek to return to winning ways.
This is the maiden Test between these two teams. The last international between them took place during the World Cup. Bangladesh came out on top in that contest by 62 runs, after Mushfiqur Rahim's 83 and a five-for from Shakib in Southampton.
Russell Domingo, Bangladesh head coach said, "Their spinners are very threatening. We have seen in the shorter format how dangerous they can be. It's definitely a different format, but they will definitely be threatening. We need to make sure that we respect them while also scoring some against them because it's really important to put pressure on their pace bowlers."
Andy Moles, interim Afghanistan coach said, "We have massive respect for Bangladesh, they are a level above us, but we are not scared of them. They have played some wonderful cricket at home for a long time. We are very much the underdogs. We are under no illusion that this is going to be a tough examination of our skills. If we could show application and concentration, we are capable of doing something special over the next five days."(UNI)