Pitch report: Shere Bangla National Stadium

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his venue has a tendency to produce results with wide margins, hence only the two draws thanks to weather interruptions. It seems like there's something in it for everyone, depending on the weather.

<b>Established:</b> 2006<br><b>Capacity:</b> 50,000<br><b>Floodlights:</b> Yes<br><b>Ends:</b> Ispahani End, Aqua Paints End<br><b>Test History:</b> 10 matches (8 away wins, 2 draws)<br><b>Tosses:</b> 7 batted first (4 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw), 3 bowled first (1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw)

<b>Overview</b><br>The stadium, which gets its name from the 'Tiger of Bengal' Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq, a renowned Bengal leader and freedom fighter from the 1940s, is the official home of Bangladesh cricket. It is situated in Mirpur, roughly 10 kilometres from the centre of Dhaka.

In a move which stirred up a fair bit of resistance, the BCB shifted its headquarters in 2005 from the Bangabandhu National Stadium, a multi-sports complex in the heart of the city, to the Shere Bangla Stadium, in order to have their own facility exclusively for cricket.

The move would appear to have been validated by the 20 or so simultaneous games of tape-tennis ball cricket matches which take place every morning and every evening on the grassless plot adjacent to the stadium.

The ground boasts probably the best drainage facility on the whole of the sub-continent, with an even slope of 29 inches from wicket to boundary. The stadium was upgraded in 2011, with the football floodlights replaced and the capacity increased to 50,000 ahead of the World Cup.

<b>Last Time Out</b><br>The most recent match at this venue was between the Tigers and New Zealand, in October 2013, and the game ended in a draw thanks to an unbeaten century from Mominul Haque.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat, posting 282 all out, with Tamim Iqbal making 95 and Neil Wagner taking five wickets. The Kiwis then batted for nearly two days, making 437 all out thanks to a Corey Anderson ton.

Bangladesh then batted out the rest of the match, with day five being washed out, and reached 265 for three. Mominul's ton, and Shakib-al-Hasan's five-fer ensured a good set of records for the hosts.

<b>Happy Hunting Ground</b><br>Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib has played all 10 Tests at this ground, and is thus the top run-getter. He has a century and five fifties here, and averaged 47.55. Added to that, he has taken the most wickets (33).

Spinner Sohag Gazi also has a good record here, taking nine wickets in two Tests, while Tamim Iqbal is second on the batting records. As for Sri Lanka, they last played here in 2008, when Mahela Jayawardene made a big century.

<b>They Said</b><br>New Zealand batsman Peter Fulton on day four: "We were trying to get the ball to reverse. It did get quite rough, we got that side a little coarse. There's not a lot of pace in the wicket now. Even if the ball is reversing, it is difficult when the wicket is not too fast."

<b>Weather Forecast</b><br>According to the internet, the weather in Dhaka will be hot and sunny all the way through the match, with some cloud cover on days two and five, but no rain indicated.

<b>Conclusion</b><br>This venue has a tendency to produce results with wide margins, hence only the two draws thanks to weather interruptions. It seems like there's something in it for everyone, depending on the weather, though fast bowlers must make use of it early on.

Spinners get more assistance as the track flattens out, and a batsman can score big runs if he gets sets and concentrates. But one or two wickets and collapse is on the cards, especially on days four and five.

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