Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
Bangladesh's decision to play one seamer against India in Fatullah, and that being Mohammad Shahid, was hardly surprising. Leading up to the Test, news from different sources in the team management suggested that this was one of the considerations for the bowling attack.
Picking the single pace bowler is yet another message from Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim and coach Chandika Hathurusingha that an attacking bowling line-up in their team is low on their list of priorities. They have spoken repeatedly about trying to win by taking 20 wickets but their preference for securing the batting line-up leads to a lop-sided bowling attack.
At the toss on Wednesday morning, there was already considerable cloud cover. Mushfiqur, who felt unlucky to lose the toss after Virat Kohli decided to bat first, said the pitch looked like a flat one that would get slower as the game would progress. "If it's hot, the wicket will break up very soon," he said.
Shahid started off steadily enough, even drawing an edge from Shikhar Dhawan which fell in front of third slip. But the left-handed opener got to him in the next two overs. A straight drive and a punch off the backfoot through the covers were followed up by two long hops that were duly dispatched. His first spell gave away 25 runs in five overs. By the time he started his second spell, after the rain break, he had become predictable. It lasted four overs before they brought back Shuvagata Hom in his place.
The team management's decision to pick Shahid as the lone seamer ahead of Rubel Hossain and Abul Hasan was quite a natural call for the team management that has shown most of its interest in new pace bowlers. The only other time when Bangladesh picked a single pace bowler in their bowling attack was against Sri Lanka last year when Al-Amin Hossain played. There too, Mushfiqur and Shane Jurgensen preferred the newbie ahead of Rubel and Robiul Islam. At the time, Al-Amin was a relatively unknown quantity with promise, similar to Shahid in this game.
Perhaps Shahid's experience in playing as a single seamer in first-class cricket, where he was the one-man pace attack for Dhaka Metropolis on many occasions, was the reason for his selection. Rubel has never done this in any four or five-day match. After playing 23 Tests since 2009, he is still not entrusted with the role of playing as the only pace bowler.
Hathurusingha said Rubel was not picked in this game so that he can fully recover from his side strain, and be ready for the three ODIs.
"Rubel is coming after an injury, he was not 100%. We thought if Rubel bowled on this wicket, there could be a re-occurrence of his injury because he didn't get a chance to prove his fitness in a match," Hathurusingha said. "He is not fit to bowl on this kind of wicket. You need a lot of effort on this kind of wicket. If the wicket is helping fast bowlers, we could have gone different way.
"We are keeping Rubel for the ODI series. It is very crucial for us to win one-dayers as well knowing that if we win at least one game, we can have a chance to qualify for the Champions Trophy. If the condition was different then we would have played another seamer."
Prior to the match, the Bangladesh coaching staff had indicated that pace would not work on this pitch. Bowling coach Heath Streak had said that playing three fast bowlers was unlikely at this ground while Hathurusingha, who was confounded by the cut grass on the wicket, had said that this was "no pace bowling paradise".
The heat over the previous three weeks in this region, the overuse of the Fatullah ground (around 125 matches have been played here since last September) and the presence of cut grass on top are reasons enough to believe that there would be cracks on this surface. This year the top five first-class wicket-takers at this venue are all spinners but that's little surprise for any venue in Bangladesh.
That being the case, even a pitch considered helpful for pace bowlers would not have pushed them to pick three pace bowlers, which happened in their previous Test. Against Pakistan in Mirpur last month, they picked Shahadat Hossain and Shahid on a wicket that was ordered to be sporting by the team management. The plan was to bowl first as there was a green tinge on a humid morning. Mushfiqur duly decided to bowl first but they were setting themselves up for a long time in the field, and matters were worsened due to the freak injury to Shahadat two balls into the match and a wicket off a no-ball.
Abul Hasan, like in this 14-man Test squad, was available for selection in Mirpur but Shuvagata was selected to provide an additional bowling option as an offspinner and provide batting help at No 8. It is an encouraging sign to see additional spinners in the side so that Shakib Al Hasan is not overburdened. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam is an automatic choice in the attack of late while Jubair Hossain's return is encouraged because he offers a wicket-taking option. On the first day, the Indian openers dealt with Shakib, Jubair and Shuvagata quite easily. Taijul drew the only opportunity of the day but Shuvagata spilled the chance offered by Dhawan, on 73, at short midwicket. Shuvagata also had one appeal turned down in the 45th over.
The truncated first day was suggestion enough that pace is unlikely to work here but India have picked Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav after studying the Fatullah pitch on the eve of the game. Their position in the game means that their pace attack will have a big total to bowl with but the composition of their bowling attack is an expression of their new captain's mindset.