Bangladesh had their chances in the T20 series but it was India who came out on top with a clinical performance. The caravan now moves to the longest format of the game with the first Test being played at Holkar Stadium, in Indore.
The two teams have met each other 9 times in Tests. India have the complete upper hand here having won 7 of these encounters while two games ended in a draw. In India, the hosts took the only Test played between these two sides in 2017.
Ground details and team combination
There has been only one Test played at this venue, where India trounced New Zealand by a hefty margin. Batsmen and spinners enjoyed their time of it in that game. While two centuries and a double-century were scored in the Test, spinners picked up 22 of the 25 wickets to fall at a strike-rate of 56.5.
In One-Day Internationals as well, the narrative has remained the same. In five ODIs, here spinners have returned wickets every 36.8 deliveries as compared to pacers’ 48.1. The theme is expected to remain the same come Thursday as well.
The Indore surface has largely been a haven for batsmen. So, ideally pack your side with at least five solid frontline batsmen.
On the bowling front, spinners, off-spinners, in particular, have been extremely effective. In the only Test played here, they picked up 17 striking every 36.1 balls. So, picking someone like R Ashwin in your team should be a no-brainer. Even Mehidy Hasan could be a decent pick.
A combination of five top-order batsmen, one all-rounder, three spinners and two pacers could be the way to go here.
Rohit Sharma’s elevation to the top of the order remained a hot debate during the India-South Africa series. But he duly shut most critics up by racking scores aplenty. Rohit averages a Bradmanseque 99.85 in Tests in India with six centuries and five half-centuries and is coming into the Test series in pristine form. What should further convince you to make him the captain of your side is his excellent record against spin. Rohit averages an enormous 156 against spin this year in four innings. His strike-rate against them also reads a mighty 88.89. The Indore pitch will suit his style of play and if he gets his eye in, another ton might be in the offing.
Virat Kohli is the highest run-scorer in Test cricket since the start of 2018 and there is little stopping him. His career-best 254* against South Africa pretty much showed that he is in excellent touch. In the only Test that was played in Indore, Kohli returned 211. He is coming into the Test series after a well-earned rest, so watch out Bangladesh!
A bowling average of 26.4, batting average of 54.18 – Ravindra Jadeja has come into his own since the start of 2018. Jadeja’s all-round package makes it very hard for anyone to keep him out of the team and more importantly, he is backing it with numbers. Jadeja has always been good with the ball, especially in home conditions, but his consistency with the bat is what is making him a sure shot pick. He will continue to remain a key asset in Indore as well. 4
While his overseas credentials can be debated all day long, there is no denying that R Ashwin is an absolute beast in home conditions. He has returned 53 wickets since the start of 2018 striking every 59.3 balls. He was superb in the only test played here returning 13 wickets in the match and was named Player of the Match. In the recently concluded series against South Africa too, Ashwin was the leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps in 3 outings. With a host of left-handers in the Bangladesh unit, Ashwin is one bowler who can cause maximum impact.
The weather is expected to be sunny across the five days of the Test with the temperature to hover around the 29-degree range on average. Rain should not be a problem in Indore during the Test.
Suggested FanFight team
R Sharma (c), C Pujara, V Kohli (vc), M Haque, M Rahim (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, T Islam, U Yadav, M Hasan, K Yadav