Bangladesh relying on batting to pose threat to confident Pakistan in Rawalpindi Test

By Agency

It's finally here. After much deliberation about the itinerary of Bangladesh's Test tour of Pakistan, the first of a three-leg affair will begin in Rawalpindi on Friday, February 7 when Pakistan host Bangladesh in their first Test match in five years.
More significantly, the Test also continues Pakistan's efforts to be a regular host of international cricket once again, and with all security arrangements in place, the focus can now firmly be on cricket. Pakistan come into the match on the back of a mammoth 263-run win over Sri Lanka in their last Test in December, while Bangladesh have lost the last five Tests they have played. Solely on the balance of that, the odds are in favour of the home side.
But there is more than just the weight of recency that Bangladesh will have to counter. They are without their two most experienced and important players in Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan, and with a bowling lineup that does not really shine itself in glory when it comes to performing consistently. Abu Jayed can be relied on to an extent, while Taijul Islam will have the responsibility of leading the attack. The most recent verdict on Ebadot Hossain is that he is improving after the latest season of the BPL, while Rubel Hossain turns up with an unimpressive record - he has the worst bowling average of all-time for someone who has bowled at least 3000 balls in Test cricket. It will be his first appearance in 18 months.
With that in mind, Bangladesh would do well to make sure they capitalize on any opportunity they get with the bat. Captain Mominul Haque is a talented player who will be looking to put a disappointing 2019 behind him and usher in a new phase of form. Veteran Tamim Iqbal will undoubtedly be the key, fresh from having scored a record-breaking triple century in a domestic game. Mohammad Mithun, Najmul Hossain Shanto and Liton Das also have a great chance to cement their spot.
On the other hand, the home side look far more balanced and confident going into the match. The way Pakistan fought back in their last Test against Sri Lanka would also be heartening for the team management, given that Shaan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam all scored centuries. Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah also contributed with wickets, capping off what one would call a complete team performance.
It will also be interesting to see how Bangladesh counter the leg-spin threat of Yasir Shah, who is sure to kick up a storm on a track that will be helpful for spinners as the days go on. On the batting front, young Abid Ali will no doubt be the man to watch out for, having struck two centuries in his first three Test innings' last year. The decision that Bangladesh will take on the morning of the Test after assessing the conditions, about whether to play with two spinners or one might prove to be key in deciding the fate of the match.