Preview: One-off Test: Bangladesh Vs India in Fatullah

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Fatullah, June 9: Virat Kohli's proactive and aggressive style of leadership will be tested when India take on sprightly underdogs Bangladesh in the one-off Test starting here tomorrow (June 10).

Full tour schedule; 10 facts about the Test

Kohli was anointed with full-time Test captaincy after MS Dhoni quit in the middle of the Australia series. The Bangladesh Test match will be, in essence, the start of a life without Dhoni for the team, which comprises cricketers of an average age of 26. (Can Bangla batsman set world record?)

India's Test captain Virat Kohli (centre) during a training session

There will also be a sense of deja vu when Kohli walks out alongside his Bangladeshi counterpart Mushfiqur Rahim at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium tomorrow. (Full tour coverage)

One of India's most successful captain Sourav Ganguly also started as a full-time captain against Bangladesh some 15 years back in a one-off Test match that was played at Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka. (Indian team faces discomfort at Kolkata airport)

Only difference is, this is Kohli's third Test as the skipper while that match marked Ganguly's captaincy debut. (Harbhajan praises Kohli)

For Kohli, as he starts a new chapter in his so far glittering career, it will also be a test of his tactical acumen as he would need to decide on whether India would go with six batsmen and four bowlers with a specialist wicketkeeper or with an additional bowler to ensure that taking 20 wickets is not a problem. (When Sachin equalled Gavaskar)

David Vs Goliath battle

On paper, it's another David versus Goliath battle with India having won six out of the seven Test matches between the two countries. Bangladesh drew just one in Chittagong in 2007 with the help of rain. ('No grudges against Bangladesh')

But Bangladesh have been on the rise after a lion-hearted show in the World Cup, where they disposed off England to make it to the last-eight stage.

The World Cup was followed by handing Pakistan a shocking 3-0 ODI series defeat and drawing a Test match, which has not only raised the profile of the team but also earned them a bit more respect from the opposition teams than what they had been used to getting earlier.

Also the 'firm belief' of their supporters that a controversial 'No-Ball' in that fateful World Cup quarter-final match against India robbed them off a fair chance, will also add spice to the contest.

Kohli would not like to take the next door neighbours to be the proverbial 'banana peel' that minnows often turn out to be in such mismatched contests.

Harbhajan Singh (right) has made a comeback to Test team

The task will be cut out for the Bangladeshi bowlers, led by their fastest pacer Rubel Hossain and wily all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan, as they face the challenge to stop a formidable batting line-up, which is capable of posting a monumental score in helpful conditions.

Opener Rahul ruled out

Kohli, whose last Test series against the mighty Australians earned him a whopping 692 runs with four centuries, would like to cash in on this opportunity to get another hefty score against his name.

KL Rahul's loss could well be Shikhar Dhawan's gain as the left-hander would be eager to get his place back in the playing XI after he was dropped during Sydney Test due to a string of poor scores before that.

Since the Test series in Australia, Dhawan had an impressive World Cup followed by a decent IPL and he would like to carry on with his rich vein of form. Rahul, who scored a century in Sydney, is out as he is recovering from dengue and this gives Dhawan an opportunity to reclaim his place in the side.

With no potent swing bowler like a James Anderson or Stuart Broad in opposition ranks, neither a speed merchant like Mitchell Johnson or Mitchell Starc, Dhawan might find it easy to negotiate the Bangladeshi bowlers on a track which is not expected to produce any lateral movement.

Murali Vijay, who has emerged as the automatic first- choice opener after a fine last season in Test matches in England and Australia, will like this opportunity to add a few more runs in his ever-growing kitty.

Ajinkya Rahane, India's most consistent Test player over the year, would like to spike up his Test average by a few points after having done all the hard work getting those runs in adverse conditions across the cricketing globe in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia.

Six specialist batsmen

If India go in with six specialist batsmen, then both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma might fit into the scheme of things but one can't rule out an aggressive Kohli breaking out from the Dhoni template of playing four bowlers.

Pujara's four-match county stint with Yorkshire might not have reaped rich dividends in terms of runs but would have certainly helped him sort out his technical glitches as he is back on the familiar featherbeds that he gets to play in domestic matches.

Mominul Haque on the verge of equalling world record

But Rohit on a one-on-one comparison would stand a better chance not only because he is a much superior player but also because of the confidence he has gained during World Cup and subsequently leading Mumbai Indians from a near hopeless situation to IPL title triumph.


Squads

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das (wicketkeeper), Shuvagata Som, Taijul Islam, Mohammad Shahid, Rubel Hossain, Jubair Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Abul Hassan.

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaaron, Ishant Sharma.

Match starts 9.30 AM IST (Live scores here)

TV coverage: Live on Star Sports

PTI

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