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Will Bangladesh banish July ghosts or West Indies conjure them?

Kemar Roach was unstoppable CWI Media

Big Picture

Memories of the July drubbing would be fresh for both Bangladesh and West Indies who square off for a second two-Test series in the space of five months. It was the high point for West Indies in 2018, and the exact opposite for Bangladesh, who will look to avenge the ignominy, bolstered by the return of Shakib Al Hasan.

The home side would have gained some confidence from their last Test, held in Dhaka against Zimbabwe last week, where Mushfiqur Rahim's unbeaten 219 became Bangladesh's highest Test score. Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah struck hundreds while Mohammad Mithun made a much needed fifty in the second innings as they went on to post a big win.

But there remains concern about the side's batting which has struggled for much of the year in Tests. Imrul Kayes is in need of runs while Soumya Sarkar, who is returning to the Test side after more than a year, should be hungry too.

West Indies would want to restore their Test confidence, particularly in the sub-continent, coming off a 2-0 drubbing at the hands of India, on a largely unrewarding tour across formats. But they would have taken heart from a solid performance in the warm-up game in Chittagong.

Stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell struck fifties, both batsmen now on top of West Indies' Test run-makers chart this year. Shane Dowrich and Roston Chase aren't far behind, with the latter having had a decent time in India.

With Jason Holder missing, West Indies' bowling depends largely on Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach, who have been among the wickets. Devendra Bishoo, the main spinner, has struggled in the six Tests he has played this year, averaging 60.12 with only eight wickets to his credit.

Bangladesh's spinners have had a good year in Test cricket. Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan have taken 33 and 26 wickets respectively, and both with respectable averages. Shakib's inclusion would boost the bowling attack further, as his experience has always made a big difference at home.

Form guide

Bangladesh : WLLLL (Last five completed matches, most recent first)

West Indies: LLWWL

In the spotlight

Roston Chase was West Indies' top scorer in the Test series against India last month. His offspin will also be crucial to add balance to a side that is without Jason Holder.

Mushfiqur Rahim just reached Bangladesh's highest score in Test, an unbeaten 219 that added much needed confidence to his side that has been bereft of runs in the format.

Team news

Bangladesh have to break their winning XI as Shakib Al Hasan has been passed fit for the first Test. Ariful Haque may have to make way for the regular captain. Soumya Sarkar is also a shoe-in for the dropped Liton Das.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mohammad Mithun, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Khaled Ahmed

Without Holder, West Indies have to fill two places effectively, that of an in-form fast bowler and a handy lower-order batsman. But it could be Kemar Roach who comes into the playing XI.

West Indies (probable): 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Sunil Ambris, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Devendra Bishoo, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Jomel Warrican, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Pitch and conditions

Chittagong is traditionally Bangladesh's best batting pitch but there is always the chance for it to slowly break down in the last two days. Weather is mild.

Stats and trivia

  • Shakib Al Hasan is four wickets short of becoming the first Bangladeshi bowler to take 200 Test wickets.

  • Kieran Powell is 13 runs short of reaching 2,000 Test runs.

Quotes

"It may not be a high-scoring match, but if we can score 300-plus on a so-so wicket it will be very good. If it's a good batting wicket, then 400-500 in the first innings would be a huge advantage."
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan talks about the Chittagong pitch.

"We must have the right attitude towards each bowler. It will serve us well."
Kraigg Brathwaite, the West Indies captain, about tackling Bangladesh's spinners.