Tigers, Indians set for landmark Test Thursday
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium is ready to shake out of its slumber as the most anticipated one-off Test match between Bangladesh and India is all set to commence at Uppal in Hyderabad Thursday.
It might be a different game and will be a one of the biggest days in the history of Indo-Bangla cricketing rivalry when the Tigers will be pitted against a highly committed bunch from India in the landmark Test.
Undoubtedly, the match for both the teams will be full of emotional highs and the tension will be at its peak because it has been more than 16 years since Bangladesh got Test status, but this will be the first time they play a Test in India.
Both the teams are capable of putting up eye-catching performances to start the Test match with a bang.
India, current No. 1 Test team, continued their supremacy at home against England and New Zealand recently.
With the recent England’s and New Zealand’s abject surrender, current ranking and form, Indians are clear favourite against Bangladesh in the solitary Test on paper.
While a spirited Bangladesh Test side led by Mushfiqur Rahim are aiming to put their recent New Zealand series heartache behind them as they are promising to bring positive outcome from the only Test series.
“The preparation has been quite good although in the practice match the way we played we didn’t go according to our plan. The boys had a good hit and we haven’t good got too much time coming from New Zealand. Hopefully we will play a great Test match ahead of us,” Bangladesh Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim told reporters during a media conference on Wednesday.
“Cricket is a team game and when you are playing against the number one team you have to be good. Not only me or Shakib, as a whole unit we have to be very specific as to what our plan is and hopefully the bowlers can execute our plan. And hopefully we can have a great Test match. In these conditions Taijul and Shakib will be handy. Whoever plays they are pretty much ready to do well and they have to deliver their best, because you are playing the number one team. Everyone knows how good they are in their own soil. Hopefully we can create a few chances and use those chances to get a better result,” Mushfiq added.
This will be the first time a subcontinent team will lock horns with the Virat Kohli-led Indian side after a longtime span. It's been more than seven years since India hosted a subcontinent side in a Test match. Sri Lanka is the last subcontinent team who paid a visit in 2009. Virender Sehwag slammed a memorable double hundred in the final Test as India clinched the three-match Test series by 2-0 to climb atop the ICC Test Rankings for the first time ever.
Like 2009, India is now the top-ranked Test team and will aim to continue their domination in the conventional format in the one-off match against Bangladesh.
But things have changed drastically in Bangladesh’s favour over the last two years. Their improvement continued in Test format also.
They brought highflying England side down to the earth and clinched the Test series by 1-0 last year. Even they stunned New Zealand recently with unbelievable batting effort in such a tough condition for batsmen, thanks to all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. The duo posted the country’s highest partnership for any wicket: an epic 359. The India skipper is also respecting Bangladesh batting ahead of the only Test match.
“It’s an equal battle. You can’t discount Bangladesh batting as well. They did outstanding in New Zealand. Outstanding effort to score more than 350 runs in one day, its phenomenal going at 4.5 runs an over throughout the day was something very special. So we can't take any aspect of their team lightly. They have quality cricketers. The only way you can win Test matches is by persistence and application and discipline. I think we are going to focus on those things and not as skill battles in particular. We want a complete team application,” Kohli said Wednesday.
“They haven’t come to India much is what I have recently found out. We’ve gone to Bangladesh quite a bit but they have never been to India for a bilateral before this. So yes, it is a historic moment for both teams and the countries as well. I hope this can happen much more. We have gone there too many times. They should come here more often. It will be great for them to come and play here in India. Great place to play cricket. They will enjoy it. I think it should happen more often. It is a special occasion. I just happen to be the captain at this time. But it will be a special day,” Kohli added.