England will field a fairly ‘new look’ side for the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, if Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett both make their debuts.
The pair have been battling to become skipper Alastair Cook’s opening partner in the absence of Alex Hales, who chose not to come on this tour for safety reasons, though he was set to be dropped anyway.
Teenager Hameed, calm of temperament and solid in defence, seems the likely candidate to open with Cook, who will become England’s most capped Test player when he takes the field.
Duckett, a more flashy player, has been excellent in the build up as well, and is set to play in the middle order, leaving Gary Ballance on the sidelines.
As for the bowlers, spinner Gareth Batty is in line to play his first Test in 11 years, a third spinner to compliment Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
Batty’s selection, given he is nearing 40, was a surprise, but he is backed to be one of the steadier bowlers, if not a massive wicket-taker.
Pace-wise, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, and Stuart Broad will make up the attack, with James Anderson unavailable due to injury, leaving Jake Ball and Steve Finn sidelined.
Not much media attention has been paid to the Tigers ahead of this series, with the focus first on security, then on the debutants, then on Cook’s new baby.
But the Tigers have made six changes to their previous squad, with batsman Sabbir Rahman named and in line for a debut. There are three other uncapped players as well.
The hosts are without premier paceman Mustafizur Rahman to injury, which is a massive blow and will make England’s lives much easier. All eyes will be on Shakib-al-Hasan to take wickets.
The sides last faced each other in a Test in 2010, and have only played eight such matches. England have won all eight, and one imagines it will be 10 out of 10 after this.
For England, Alastair Cook’s experience will be vital, to show the new players the ropes on their debut tour. While the Tigers are not the most stringent of opposition, Cook will be keen to stamp his authority early.
The hosts will look to all-rounder Shakib, one of the best in the world, both for runs and wickets. His middle order batting is often called upon to save the day, and he has a knack of breaking partnerships with his off-spin.
Last five head-to-head results
2010 Second Test: England won by an innings and 80 runs in Manchester
2010 First Test: England won by 8 wickets at Lord’s
2010 Second Test: England won by 9 wickets in Dhaka
2010 First Test: England won by 181 runs in Chittagong
2005 Second Test: England won by an innings and 27 runs in Durham
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tamim Iqbal (vice-capt), Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan , Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Nurul Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Shuvagata Hom
England: Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Zafar Ansari, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Haseeb Hameed, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes
Dates: 20-24 October
Morning session: 10:00-12:00 (04:00-06:00 GMT)
Affternoon session: 12:40-14:40 (06:40-08:40 GMT)
evening session: 15:00-17:00 (09:00-11:00 GMT)
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena, Chris Gaffaney
TV Umpire: S Ravi
Match referee: Ranjun Madugalle
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