Onus on batsmen to pile it on
January 7, 2010
Start time 14.30 (08.30 GMT)
Win the toss, win the match. That seems to be the norm so far for this tri-series, for obvious reasons: The dew has been the deciding factor for both games. It has affected the bowlers' grip and forced the spinners to bowl it flat, reluctant to give the ball air for fear of bowling a friendly full toss. Imagine the plight for a team like Bangladesh, which thrives on its spinners. Mushfiqur Rahim, the wicketkeeper, said his team have been practicing with a wet ball in the nets to get used to the dew.
Dew apart, Tuesday's defeat to Sri Lanka was an eye-opener for India. Their death bowling has been erratic in recent one-dayers and it was reflected in the crucial final stages of the chase when they dished out full tosses and no-balls in attempting to target the base of the stumps. The Rajkot ODI - where they defended 414 by the skin of their teeth - was an example of excellent death bowling, but they haven't been able to replicate that consistently. Even their best death bowler, Zaheer Khan, had a poor outing on Tuesday. With no bowling coach at their disposal, there may not be enough time to rectify that weakness but the best India and Bangladesh can do is to score a mountain of runs as a safety net.
Bangladesh will be expected to be far more potent if they bowl first. They will have to look at ways to contain India rather than attack them, because they could leak runs in the process. Against Sri Lanka, their top order wilted after a good start more due to carelessness, before Mohammad Ashraful led the recovery. Bangladesh certainly have more on their plate, but they will feel a lot better if they win that toss.
Form guide (last 5 completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Harbhajan Singh: The one bowler who performed against Sri Lanka, with figures of 3 for 47. It wouldn't have been easy to grip the ball under lights but two of his three wickets came with good use of flight. The Rajkot blitzkrieg is another example - he stood out with figures of 2 for 58 in ten overs, including the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan for 160. He's had a good last ten games, with an economy rate of 4.39 and 15 wickets.
Tamim Iqbal: He was Bangladesh's in-form player in 2009, scoring 642 runs at 32.10 with a career-best 154 and two fifties. He looked poised for another fifty against Sri Lanka but threw it away with a reckless shot. He said recently that he's trying to focus on occupying the crease for longer periods. If he puts that in practice, it will allow the rest to bat around him.
Bangladesh are likely to drop Shafiul Islam, who had a difficult debut - where he was smashed for 39 off five overs - for the experienced Syed Rasel.
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Raqibul Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Shafiul Islam/Syed Rasel
India could retain the XI for the second game.
India 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt and wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8, Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Sreesanth
Stats and trivia
- India have won 10 out of 11 ODIs against Bangladesh in Bangladesh. The home team's only win came on Boxing Day in 2004.
- Gautam Gambhir has an excellent record against Bangladesh, scoring 401 runs in six games including two hundreds, but Virender Sehwag hasn't done as well, scoring only 304 runs in nine innings.
- In 11 innings, Mohammad Ashraful's highest score against India is 36. He has scored 214 runs in these innings, at an average of 21.40.
"If the middle order performs and we have a flourish towards the end like we did in the first match, then a very good score is possible. If you are bowling second then it is very important for the new ball bowlers to get a couple of early breakthroughs. Otherwise it tends to get tougher and tougher as the wickets are great for batting."
"Good yorkers and slower ones are always going to help you win the games but I am not too disappointed as it was tough to bowl yorkers here with the dew."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo