Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Chittagong

Weakened England should still be too strong

Preview by Andrew McGlashan

March 11, 2010

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Friday March 12, 2010
Start time 9.30am (03.30GMT)


Stuart Broad trained in a back brace as he recovers from back spasms, Chittagong, March 10, 2010
England will be hoping that Stuart Broad fights back to full fitness in time for the first Test © PA Photos
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It's been so far, so good for England in Bangladesh, albeit with the occasional fright along the way in the one-day series and a troublesome list of injuries to their quick bowlers. Even though their strike power has been reduced they should still have too much class for the home side over this short series, but it's unlikely that success will come in the form of three-day thrashings.

The problem for Bangladesh in Test cricket has been sustaining a level of performance throughout the duration of a game. They can bowl well for a session or two, a batsman can hit a flowing fifty (or even a hundred) and they can have the opposition sweating, but the killer blow almost never arrives.

There were prime examples in the recent series against India when Shahadat Hossain's pace rocked India in the first Test before the hosts were eventually overpowered. In the second Tamim Iqbal hit a sparkling 151 but by then Bangladesh were so far adrift in the match it couldn't save them.

However, as Jamie Siddons is often at pains to point out, he doesn't count success in the wins/losses column, but more in the development he can witness in the team. In the likes of Tamim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and the in-form Mahmudullah there is the core of a useful team which certainly has the ability to cause England some uncomfortable moments. But life in Bangladesh cricket is never simple and Raqibul Hasan's walkout two days before the match was far from ideal preparation.

As in the one-day series, England are in the tricky position of not really being able to gain too much. If they lose it will be classed as a major embarrassment (and even a drawn Test would be a disappointment) while victory will be followed with the "it's only Bangladesh" statements.

In a sense, then, the injuries to the pace attack have injected some added interested to this match. It is a chance to see what the bench strength is like - how much has Tim Bresnan improved? Is Steven Finn the tall quickie they have been yearning for? Is Michael Carberry the rightful reserve batsman? How about James Tredwell's offspin? All four of those names could play and Alastair Cook hinted Carberry and Tredwell were both very close to debuts.

Again, as with whatever success the team has, individual achievements will be downgraded in some quarters due to the opposition. However, that is assuming England do manage to complete the expected victory. Everything suggests they will, but you never quite know.

Form guide (last five completed matches)

Bangladesh LLLWW
England LDWDW

Watch out for...

Alastair Cook has made a promising impression on his first tour as captain, managing to overcome some tricky situations in the one-day series and also maintaining his form with the bat which suggests he is managing to balance his workload. Test matches, though, stretch a captain to his limits, especially in foreign conditions and even more so without a full-strength attack. Will he be inventive, proactive or reactive? If England do spend a long time in the field how will his batting react? The next few days will be an interesting time for Cook.

Bangladesh think they have the wood on Kevin Pietersen and it will be fascinating to see Shakib Al Hasan's tactics when the England batsman walks out. There are good odds that the Bangladesh captain will bring himself on to bowl straight away to exploit Pietersen's bizarre weakness against left-arm spin. However, beyond that head-to-head Shakib is vital for Bangladesh. With both bat and ball he is a stand-out performer and registered his maiden Test century against New Zealand last month. Leading Bangladesh at the age of 22 is a huge task, but so far it hasn't affected Shakib's performances.

Team news

Bangladesh's plans were hit a severe blow when Raqibul Hasan stunned the team by announcing his retirement after practice on Wednesday. His place in the squad has gone to Jahurul Islam, who scored 117 and 59 in the final of their domestic competition last week, but Aftab Ahmed will take over at No. 4 in the final XI. Mahmudullah, who impressed with a series of fine performances at No. 8 in New Zealand last month, moves up to No. 5, with Shadahat Hossain replacing Shafiul Islam as Rubel Hossain's new-ball partner. With four spinners to rotate, however, neither man is likely to do much more than take the shine off the ball.

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Aftab Ahmed, Mahmudullah, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Shadahat Hossain

Six batsman, four bowlers? Five batsmen, five bowlers? Two seamers, two spinners? Three quicks, two spinners? Or just one spinner? There are plenty of permutations for England to consider, but Cook hinted towards the first and a duel spin attack. That would mean debuts for Carberry and Tredwell, but it would be a huge gamble to have just two frontline seamers if one of those is Broad who recently suffered back spasms. His recent nets sessions have been encouraging, however, and England seem set to take the gamble.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Michael Carberry, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Ian Bell, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Tim Bresnan, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Tredwell

Pitch and conditions

Everyone expects the pitch to turn, especially as it tends to take a bunsen of the most raging variety before England consider two spinners. The bounce in Bangladesh tends to be on low side, however, so it will be hard work for the pacemen and a case of batsmen cashing in during the first innings.

Stats and Trivia

  • Bangladesh have played seven Tests at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, losing six and drawing one, a rain-affected clash against India in 2007
  • Their record includes a huge 465-run defeat against Sri Lanka in 2009, the fifth-largest defeat in terms of runs in Test history

  • Alastair Cook will become the 79th England captain and the fifth-youngest

Quotes

"If he struggles against left-armers, he's got two bloody good ones against him."
Bangladesh's coach, Jamie Siddons, looks forward to testing Kevin Pietersen's mettle against slow bowling

"Their spinners will be a huge threat, and for us to take them lightly would be a cardinal sin."
England's captain, Alastair Cook, is guarded against complacency

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by SettingSun on (March 11, 2010, 18:54 GMT)

Gnasher, I'll be amazed if England go in with just four bowlers, two of those being spinners, and one of the seamers being the barely fit Broad. I think you are way off there.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 17:47 GMT)

IF any cricketer from Bangladesh can score Century in both innings, Bangladesh will either win or the test will be drawn. I don't really care about bowling attack, we got two best spinners of the world. But I am tensed about batting. If Junaid and Tamim can do another 200 Runs partnership. Or if Mahmudullah and Shakib can get another 100-150 runs partnership then Bangladesh will have some hope.Otherwise....another defeat!

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 17:43 GMT)

There's no way England will go with two seamers and two spinners, and they shouldn't because Cook, Bell, Collingwood, KP, Trott and Prior all have batting averages of 40 in Test Cricket. Swann averages 30, Broad 26 and both Bresnan and Tredwell average 25 in First Class cricket. Hence no point of playing Carberry, play Finn instead, his height is gonna cause a lot of problems. I would play: 1 Cook, 2 Bell, 3 Trott, 4 KP, 5 Collingwood, 6 Prior, 7 Swann, 8 Broad, 9 Bresnan, 10 Tredwell, 11 Finn.

Posted by ScriptWriter on (March 11, 2010, 16:32 GMT)

I mean, really? England will win. Do we even have to state the obvious?

Posted by Common_sense on (March 11, 2010, 16:30 GMT)

I am baffled by Bangladesh team selection - yet again! We are severely exposed on the top of the batting line up (with Junaid and Aftab slotted to come in at no. 3 and no. 4)...positions where tachnique and occupying creases are important criteria and am not sure if these two batsmen have it, particularly Aftab (on top of that he is acually at flaw with application of shots as Ashraful is). After that, we have a barrage of allrounders till Naeem. This is TEST cricket and we need specialists (both batting and bowling) to put pressure on the opposing teams. Including both Aftab and Naeem in the team just doesn't make sense! While Naeem is an excellent young prospect, ideally I would rather like to see another specialist spinner instead to add to variety and potency to the bowling attack (and take 20 wickets!). Also, instead of Afatb, would have liked to see a new face from domestic cricket who is known for technique and occupying crease (rather than a breezy 50!)

Posted by sakib.talha on (March 11, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

the result of one day series 3-0 doesn't reflect the clear picture any way. England actually sweated a lot for the victory. the second one day was a clear lucky win for England while the first one was lack of planning by bangladeshi batsmen.

however, im just waiting keenly for the first test to begin. if draw will be embarrassing for England team, they would better prepare for that. because the weaken England pace attack should not bother much to Bangladeshi batsmen. even tredewell is not even closed to a quality test bowler.

Just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for an embarrassing test series for England..

Go bengal tigers. we are behind you. its time to roar once again..

Posted by T2-- on (March 11, 2010, 16:04 GMT)

I think bcb show fired its selectors Because of raqibul hasan. Today in a early statement BcB said they pick player on their performance But they don't its a lie HOW COME THEY PIKING Junaid Siddique who has not perform well for Bangladesh any format of the game!!!!!!!! How come he gets so many chance Plus they aftab ahmed is in the test squad he not better than Ashraful Aftab ahmed dosnot meat the nationalavarage to play crcicket maybe he is good cricketer But he not good for Test.

Like Shadahat Hossain who is not good in odi but excellent in test match

Jahurul Islam, should play plus bcb should get more player from first class game

Posted by Bearded_Lefty on (March 11, 2010, 15:59 GMT)

i agree with SimonSpliff, if we have Tredwell at 11 we have too much batting. Drop Bell for Finn please

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 15:28 GMT)

I hope ban will be shown their progressive effort though their is an misunderstanding among some cricketer. the authority should return Roquibul hasan anyway. Sabas bangladesh come on.

Posted by long_handle9 on (March 11, 2010, 15:16 GMT)

lol I hope somebody sledges Broad about his back...that was a really silly comment

Posted by shonkhochil on (March 11, 2010, 14:10 GMT)

Bangladesh is always been a side of talent but they hardly produced results.After playing 10 years of test cricket it's really disappointing to see that there is not even a single player in the side who's age is around 30.The average age is 22-23 of the team.It would definitely raise a point that there is something wrong with the team management.We have seen so many talent in last 10 years but the question is why the promises don't turn into a long time performer? I have questions about selecting Musfiqur as a wicket keeper in a test match.He misses 3-4 chances in a ODI,not sure what he will do in a test match.I do respect his batting talent but for a test match I would prefer a good wicket keeper who can bat not a batsman who can wicket keep a bit. I am concerned about Shakib's public comment regarding Mortaza, Raqibul & board.He is showing signs of a dictator.he should be stopped before it goes far otherwise Bangladesh will always be a team of teenagers with lot of promises.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 13:57 GMT)

I'd definitely go in with 5 batsmen and Prior at 6. That way, they could play 3 seamers and 2 spinners. Haven't seen Tredwell but Finn might be a useful wild-card selection for this match. Bresnan certainly isn't a front-line Test match bowler.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

Our bowling attack is thin, but we don't actually have many options with the injuries we've sustained. As for the batting - we can collapse against anyone, and our tendancy to look to build around KP may come unstuck unless he gets this left arm spin hoodoo under wraps.

Posted by SimonSpliff on (March 11, 2010, 12:48 GMT)

I hope that's not really going to be England's lineup. That bowling attack look really thin. A debutants, one seamer who hasn't completely convinced and another that couldn't even wak two days ago. Frankly we don't need 7 batsman, if England can't score runs against Bangladesh on those flat subcontinent pitches there's something seriously wrong. They're playing it safe and if Bangladesh bat sensibly it could easily be a draw, especially on their pitches.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2010, 11:16 GMT)

I hope England go in with 2 spinners. The pitch seems to require it and Tredwell deserves his chance after being on the fringes of the team for the last couple of years. He's too similar to Swann to be a regular pick but is a good solid performer who won't let anyone down.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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