Ending all speculations, Shakib Al Hasan is declared fit to bowl as Bangladesh vow to draw the Test series by winning the second and final game, starting tomorrow (Thursday) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
It will be Bangladesh's last international match in this year, which they began with a memorable Test win on New Zealand soil. Can Bangladesh have a fitting end to the year? Bangladesh indeed are determined to make the year memorable.
Shakib Al Hasan, who was unable to bowl in the second innings of first Test in Chattogram due to his rib and shoulder injury, was set to play only as batter in the crucial second Test in Dhaka. But fast bowling coach Allan Donald said ahead of the match that the ace allrounder is fit enough to bowl in this Test.
After winning the ODI series by 2-1, expectation was high on Bangladesh for the Test series, despite being vulnerable in this format. The Tigers appeared to go in the right direction when they reduced India to 48-3 in the morning session of the opening day of the first Test but the sub-continent powerhouse recovered from the early collapse to finally win the Test by 188 runs.
Unlike the Chattogram, which eased up as the days progressed, the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla pitch is believed to provide rage turner and variable bounce which made Shakib's presence in the team as a bowler extremely crucial.
While Shakib is back as bowler, Bangladesh will miss the service of fast bowler Eabdot Hossain who is unarguably the best Test bowler for the side at this moment. Ebadot also couldn't bowl in the second innings of the first Test due to his side strain. Taskin Ahmed however will replace him.
"If I am talking out of the room a little bit, it will be the same three spinners and welcoming back Taskin. Khaled as well. Sorry to the selectors but I am talking out of the room a little bit," fast bowling coach Alan Donald said here today.
"That's what I can see happening. Good news is that Shakib is good to go. Looking at the pitch, I think he will very much come into play."
Overall Bangladesh's Test statistics is utterly disappointing. After playing 135 matches, they won just 16 and lost a staggering number of 101 matches. The rest of the 18 matches ended in a draw, most of which came, thanks to rain.
Bangladesh has not won a Test at home since February 2020 and has never beaten India anywhere in 12 matches in this format. They drew twice but that too courtesy to the rain.
While Bangladesh's target is to snap the losing streak to make this bilateral series a memorable one for them, India will look to strengthen their chances of reaching the World Test Championship final. After winning the first Test, they moved to second position behind Australia with seven wins in 13 matches.
If Mirpur pitch remains the same, as it played in the past, India's bowling will be quite handy. Nevertheless India will miss the service of the regular captain Rohit Sharma in this match too due to his left thumb injury which he sustained during the ODI series. KL Rahul will lead the side as usual as India is unlikely to bring up any changes to the squad.
Going by their Test form, India however are favourites to sweep the Test series, winning the second and series-match match too and they need to win it if they want to play their second consecutive World Test Championship Final.