Exhausted Bangladesh Face A Stiff Challenge Against India's Home Invincibility > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Depleted Bangladesh face steep challenge against India's home invincibility

Kohli all but confirmed Ishant Sharma's return to the side.

On the evidence of the World Test Championship so far, it perhaps won't be hyperbolic to suggest there's just no good time to play against this Indian side in India. Virat Kohli's admission that there isn't anything particularly alarming for his team to address going into the two-Test series should tell you everything you need to know about where the overwhelming table-toppers of the WTC stand.

A recap of the last couple of months will also give you a fair idea of how well India have ticked absolutely every box that there is to be ticked - including the one labelled luck as seen at the toss against South Africa in Vizag, Pune and Ranchi. The only time South Africa came close to winning a session across the three Tests was when the SG ball went soft (after about 40-50 overs of use) and batting got easier. Even that, Kohli reckoned on Wednesday, is under control and is to be met with another dash of aggressive cricket - via field settings and a push for wickets.

With the manner in which his pacers have performed, and taken the conditions out of the equation, there hasn't been any room or reason for Kohli to ever employ defensive tactics. The oft-used cliche of playing to their own strengths more than opposition's weakness has never been truer for this Indian side.

Sat in the opposite dressing room is the embodiment of adversity. But somehow, they choose to revel in it. 2019 hasn't been kind on their Test side, as they've lost each of the three games they've played - including one against Test infants Afghanistan at home. A serious face-off between the players and the board followed by a year's suspension for skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal's unavailability for the entirety of the India tour has jolted them further. They, though, swiftly shrugged away all the baggage they came to India with by taking a 1-0 lead in the T20I series, and nearly pocketing it.

The demands and rigours of Test cricket are on a different level, of course, but the visitors are intent on carrying forward the confidence they accumulated in the white-ball series. Hours have been spent watching footage of what several touring sides have done right and wrong in India in the last few years, with additional focus on what has worked for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - the two mainstays for India in home Tests. Bangladesh have also been happy for nobody to 'give them a chance' in this series, while silently working with new support staff - Russell Domingo, Daniel Vettori and Neil McKenzie - who bring with them a wealth of experience.

If the footage of the recent South Africa series in India has been keenly observed, Bangladesh will know that short, momentary phases of advantage will count for zilch if they are to attempt put India's home invincibility to test.

When: India vs Bangladesh, November 14-18, 2019, 9 AM IST

Where: Holkar International Stadium, Indore

What to expect: The Indore pitch, when Test debut happened in 2016, was a bit of a mystery. Harbhajan Singh criticised it for looking like a 'two-day-old' surface from the start, before Virat Kohli belted a double century on what was a good batting pitch. Ravichandran Ashwin picked his best innings and match haul - 7 for 59 and 13 for 140, and New Zealand were thoroughly outplayed in the four-day affair. Three years on, the pitch looks different enough for Kohli to believe that a three-pronged pace attack is the way forward. It should still be helpful for batting after early assistance for the quicks.

As for the weather, clear skies and temperatures in the late 20s are anticipated throughout the duration of the game.

Team news:

India: Kohli all but confirmed Ishant Sharma's return to the side, who sat out the third Test against South Africa in Ranchi. He will slot back in, in place of the third spinner, which was Shahbaz Nadeem in Ranchi. Rishabh Pant was part of extensive sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but should still be kept out by Wriddhiman Saha, who made a commendable return to the side in the previous series.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami

Bangladesh: In the absence of two stalwarts, Bangladesh are likely go with the experience of Imrul Kayes at the top of the order, to accompany the 24-year-old Shadman Islam.

While India stick with their five-bowlers theory, Bangladesh are likely to pick an additional batsman and complement that with a bowling attack consisting of two spinners and two pacers.

Ebadat Hossain, who was impressive in South Africa, is likely to be partnered by Abu Jayed while Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan bring in all their experience in the spin department.

Probable XI: Imrul Kayes, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque (C), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain

What they said:

"If you ask me, we [India's fast bowling attack] are right at the top. I won't even count ourselves in the [top] 3. These guys deserve it. As a captain when we started off, that was the conversation, that was the one thing in my mind that I really wanted to see happen. Batting was never an issue, spin was never an issue. After Zak and all the stalwarts went away, we were thinking how can we get back to the top, have the ability and the firepower to pick 20 wickets. Just seeing the way they've bowled, it's the belief that stands out - any kind of the pitch, any kind of opposition, they believe that they can get more out of the pitch than the opposition. And that belief matters a lot - in fact it is everything for a fast bowler. I couldn't be more happy for them. And the best thing is they're still not done yet." - Virat Kohli on whether his current crop of pacers is the best in the world.

"When we play this kind of a pace attack, we don't think about it as a threat. It will be a good challenge and opportunity for everyone. I don't think it will be a threat. We have to overcome the challenge and enjoy the opportunity." - new Test skipper Mominul Haque bullish about facing India's pacers.

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