India’s bowling spearhead Anil Kumble is fit to torment Bangladesh as the tourists seek a series win when the second and final Test starts here on Friday (today).
India lean heavily on the veteran for wickets and in his absence the other bowlers allowed Bangladesh’s ninth-wicket pair of Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain to put on 77 and save the follow-on, and with it the Test.
“Anil is a proven match-winner in any conditions,” said Indian captain Rahul Dravid ahead of the decider at the Sher-e-Bangla national stadium, a new Test venue.
Both teams were praying for a rain-free match after bad weather in the port city of Chittagong wiped out 15 of the stipulated 30 hours of play in the drawn game.
“It is very frustrating when you lose half the match to rain,” said Dravid. “There is little one can do about the weather but I just hope we get some good cricket in,” he added.
The teams will not be spared the stifling hot and humid weather, which they have endured for the entire three-week tour, but can rely on good drainage facilities at the venue in case of rain.
“This ground dries up much faster than at Chittagong,” said Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar. “There is some forecast of rain but I think we can have a full game,” he added.
Bangladesh hope to put on a sterling display as a farewell gift for coach Dav Whatmore, who ends his four-year tenure with them after this match and is a leading candidate to sign up with India.
The Indian cricket board is due to meet on June 4 to pick a successor to Greg Chappell, the former Australian captain who quit as India’s coach after the World Cup.
“The boys are very encouraged and motivated to do well in this match,” said Bashar.
Bangladesh’s fortunes rest on Mortaza, a gifted 23-year-old who was deservedly named man-of-the-match in Chittagong for his 4-97 in India’s first innings and a match-saving 79 with seven boundaries and three sixes.
India, for whom veterans Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly hit centuries, will retain opener Wasim Jaffer in spite of his horrific first-over noughts in both innings.
“Wasim is very keen to do well here,” said Dravid. “It’s not fair to judge someone by one match. He has done so well in the past,” he remarked.
Either seamer Ishant Sharma or left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar will make his Test debut after India omitted seasoned batsmen Venkatsai Laxman and Yuvraj Singh, and seamer Vikram Rajvir Singh from a shortlist of 12.
Squads: India (from): Rahul Dravid (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Rudra Pratap Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Ishant Sharma.
Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Javed Omar, Shahriar Nafees, Saqibul Hasan, Rajin Saleh, Tushar Imran, Khaled Mashud, Mohammad Rafique, Enamul Haque, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel, Mehrab Hossain.
Umpires: Daryl Harper (AUS) and Billy Doctrove (WIS); TV umpire: Nadir Shah (BAN); Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI).
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, May 25th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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