Zimbabwe are on a month-long tour to Bangladesh for 3 ODI and 2 tests. They have already lost the ODI series 3-0 and are now set to play a couple of tests first of which will begin on 3rd November at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
These two teams last played each other in Test cricket was back in 2014. That series was won by Bangladesh 3-0. Bangladesh spin attack wreak havoc in that series by claiming wickets in bundles. It hasn’t particularly been a great year in Tests for Bangladesh either. They are still chasing their first win of the year and would be hoping to gain it against a slightly weaker Zimbabwean team.
Bangladesh are without some key players in this opening Test. Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Nurul Hasan, and Kamrul Islam Rabbi will not be a part of the team.
Imrul Kayes and Mohammad Mithun should replace Tamim and Shakib in the top and middle order. Mustafizur Rahman will spearhead the bowling replacing Kamrul Islam Rabbi. Nazmul
Hossain Shanto and Ariful Haque are in contention for the middle order slot.
Taijul Islam has a crucial role to play in the spin department which will be led by Mehidy Hasan Miraz. In the absence of Tamim and Shakib, Bangladesh’s batting would revolve around Mushfiqur Rahim and Imrul Kayes.
With an ordinary year in Tests, Bangladesh finally have a real chance to get the win, but they should not be looking at just that. They should look to build a team for the future and sometimes playing easy games as you would play the difficult ones certainly goes a long way to achieve that objective.
Zimbabwe are in disarray at the moment. They have not played a test in more than a year and have not won anything in Tests in the last 5 years. And, on top of that, they don’t seem to have come in terms with their first ever exclusion out of the ODI World Cup yet.
Zimbabwe have a pretty good batting line up with Brandon Taylor, Sean Williams and Hamilton Masakazda at its center. Brandon Mavuta has strengthened the bowling department but somehow, they do not look like a team that can take other teams on in Tests.
Zimbabwe would be looking to have Brandon Taylor concentrate on his batting by relieving him of the wicketkeeping duties which will be handled by Regis Chakabva. Looking at the conditions in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe should be looking to add another spinner to their squad.
This is their realistic chance of fighting it out in the middle. Bangladesh aren’t pushovers at home, but Zimbabwe should believe that this is one of their easier battles.
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium is set for its debut in Test cricket. This will be the eighth Test venue in Bangladesh.
The pitches in Bangladesh are generally slow and offer turn as the Test progresses and there no reason this venue would be an exception. Especially, considering the spin riches that Bangladesh possesses in their squad.
This should be a win toss bat first ground.
Home conditions make Bangladesh a very tough team to beat. They have defeated the mighty England Test team at home. They would fancy their chances against a team that seem to have forgotten how to win.
Despite missing few key players Bangladesh look all set to begin the test series with a win against Zimbabwe at the brand new test venue in the country.