Buoyant England switch their focus
Match factsThursday May 27, 2010
Start time 11.00am (10.00GMT)
Less than two weeks after securing the World Twenty20 crown in Barbados England's focus has returned to Test cricket. After soaking up their success, a visit to Downing Street and the Player of the Year dinner it's back to the serious business with minds and bodies needing to adjust to the five-day game.
It is a very different England side that will take the field on Thursday to the one that was chasing Paul Collingwood around the Kensington Oval. For starters the Twenty20 captain isn't there, having been rested along with Stuart Broad, and six of the likely starters at Lord's weren't in the Caribbean while a seventh, James Anderson, was a drinks carrier. Andrew Strauss is back to lead the side for the first time since January after sitting out the Bangladesh tour as is his understudy Alastair Cook who led the squad on that trip.
This short series should be a formality and the onus is very much on building - and maintaining - momentum during the season ahead of next winter's Ashes series. The squad rotation is with a view to finding out about a few younger players with Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn at the head of that list as Andy Flower adds to his options.
England were made to work hard for their success in Bangladesh, but on home soil will be expecting less resistance from the tourists. The visitors' warm-up form has been poor with a heavy defeat against England Lions last week and Shakib Al Hasan has been laid up with chicken pox. This tour has to be viewed as another learning experience for the team and they are going to have to adjust to foreign conditions if they want to be a force in the world game.
Given the low expectations taking the games to five days would class as a success for Bangladesh, but if there is any help on offer for England's attack even that may prove too much. Four years ago they were beaten before lunch on the third day and they'll want to give a better account of themselves this time.
Form guide (last five completed matches)England WWLDW Bangladesh LLLLL
Watch out for...
Eoin Morgan has made his name in the limited-overs game with a series of matchwinning innings in 50- and 20-over matches. That composure has been enough to earn him a Test chance despite a disappointing first-class record where he averages 36. Flower has clearly seen something he likes. The challenge for Morgan is to focus his energy into building long innings, although two matches against Bangladesh won't push him to his limits. With Collingwood likely to return to face Pakistan this could be a brief window for Morgan to stake his Ashes claims.
Such is the desire to play at Lord's for visiting cricketers that Tamim Iqbal will battle the pain barrier to line up on Thursday. But beyond his personal drive to savour headquarters he is also vital to any chance Bangladesh have of making a sustained contest out of this Test. He was the stand-out performer when the two sides met earlier this year and if he can continue that form in foreign conditions his reputation will be further enhanced.
Although this would be a good chance to experiment with five bowlers, it seems likely England will stick to their preferred route of a batting-heavy line-up which means a debut for Morgan ahead of Ajmal Shahzad. A host of Test specialists return, including the under-pressure Jonathan Trott at No.3, while Matt Prior will want to quieten speculation over his place.
England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Andeson, 11 Steven Finn
Shakib has recovered from chicken pox and Tamim will play despite his wrist injury with both vital to Bangladesh's hopes. Given concerns over how their batting will respond, it is no surprise they are packing the top order. Mohammad Ashraful returns and Jahurul Islam, who made an unbeaten 58 against the Lions, also plays which means Mushfiqur Rahim is down at No. 8. There is no place for left-arm spinner Abdul Razzak so Shakib can expect plenty of overs.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Jahurul Islam, 5 Mohammad Ashraful, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 9 Rubiul Islam, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Shahadat Hossain
Pitch and conditions
The recent heatwave in London has abated to be replaced by more normal conditions with sunny intervals and cloud. England's pace attack won't mind overhead conditions to help them and there is a chance of some rain during the weekend. The pitch is rarely a concern at Lord's and a pacey track is expected which should encouraged batsmen and bowlers who are good enough to take advantage.
Stats and Trivia
- England remain the only Full Member nation never to have lost an international match against Bangladesh
- During the 2005 Test at Lord's, Bangladesh were dismissed for 108 and 159 as England romped to an innings-and-261-run victory
- Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh wicketkeeper, made his debut in that match but played as a batsman only, while Shahadat Hossain also made his first appearance and went for 101 in 12 overs.
"The success we've had over the last 12 months has been built around hard work and graft and I think we need to take that to the next level."
Andrew Strauss is determined not to take anything for granted against Bangladesh
"I'm really excited to play at Lord's in a Test match. It will be a dream come true and I really want to play, because I don't know when I'll get another chance."
Nothing will stop Tamim Iqbal playing at Lord's - even a wrist that requires surgery
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo