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The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
December 16, 2011
On the same day a revitalised New Zealand pulled off one of their most famous wins, beating Australia by seven runs in a thrilling encounter in Hobart, Bangladesh plunged to another predictable defeat, another innings loss that took their horror run to 10 defeats in 11 Tests. While increasing criticism is something Bangladesh have been at the receiving end of for quite some time, a simultaneous decline in sympathy for their limitations, their results and quality of cricket will be tougher to bear.
Their opponents, on the other hand, have achieved what they expected out of this tour so far. Leading up to a much-awaited series against England in 'home conditions' in the UAE, Pakistan have been dominating and clinical, sweeping the limited-overs games and being ruthless in a Test that had several notable individual achievements. Asad Shafiq notched up his first international century after promising to reach that landmark on more than a few occasions previously; Abdur Rehman settled in nicely in just his second game of the tour, picking up seven wickets; Younis Khan eased to another double-century and Mohammad Hafeez continued a stellar year.
In their final game of 2011, a year of contrasting fortunes for both teams, one emerging strong on the field from the spot-fixing saga and disciplinary issues, and the other seemingly sinking to the abyss after the World Cup, expect another strong show for Pakistan, while Bangladesh will hoping to salvage some pride, if nothing else.
Players to watch out for...
Azhar Ali scored his maiden Test ton in his 28th innings, against Sri Lanka in the UAE, after a run of consistent performances in the top order. Pakistan have been grooming him as a Test specialist at No.3. He's solid, has sound technique and has delivered against tougher bowling attacks. He'll feel he missed out against Bangladesh in the opening Test, making 26 while the others cashed in, and ahead of the England series he'll strive for a bigger score.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Shahriar Nafees, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt and wk), 5 Naeem Islam, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Elias Sunny, 10 Shahadat Hossain, 11 Shafiul Islam.
Pakistan have two reserve seamers in Mohammad Khalil and Mohammad Talha, but it remains to be seen if either of them is given a go.
Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema.
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
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