One-Off Test: India v Bangladesh

Cricket Match

India tackle Bangladesh in a one-off Test as they prepare for the visit of Australia to the Sub-Continent. 

India will host Bangladesh for the very first time in Test cricket, when their standalone clash gets underway in Hyderabad on Thursday, 9 February 2017.

We all know what to expect from Virat Kohli and company in the Indian ranks, but it is the Tigers who could throw up a few surprises.

India v Bangladesh |  Thursday, 9 Feb - Monday, 13 Feb | Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad | 09:30 

To Win Match
India 1/8 | Draw 13/2 | Bangladesh 16/1

India 
India are not number one in Test cricket for nothing - and haven't lost a Test at home in their last 19 matches.

Under the leadership of Kohli, India have become sharper in the field - and more clinical with both bat and ball. Their XI, indeed, features a host of talented individuals.

The only real area of concern for the Indian juggernaut over the last few months has revolved around their opening pair, with injuries and poor form hounding their frontline batsmen.

India are likely to open the batting with Lokesh Rahul - and either recalled batsman Abhinav Mukund, who hasn't played Test cricket since the 2011 tour of England, or Murali Vijay, who has recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered during the England series.

The middle order looks incredibly solid, though, with the reliable Cheteshwar Pujara coming in at first-drop ahead, of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who has gathered over 2,000 runs at an average of 47.88 in his 32 Tests to date. In terms of middle-order bench strength, India are blessed to have Karun Nair, who scored a triple-ton in his last Test, in reserve.

Kohli's men will have to do without regular pace spearhead Mohammed Shami, but have Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to soften the ball up for the spinners. India's great strength is their spin bowling, of course, with Ravichandran Ashwin heading the ICC Test bowling rankings and Ravindra Jadeja second. The hosts can also call on Jayant Yadav, who was impressive against England - and 
uncapped left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

India are a well drilled unit that will prove incredibly tough to beat, at home.

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Bangladesh
The Tigers were tamed on their recent tour of New Zealand, losing all eight international matches on their visit to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

This came after a creditable drawn series with England, where they achieved their maiden Test victory over the game's originators.

Bangladesh will be hoping a return to sub-continental conditions will also see them be more competitive than they were for much of the tour to New Zealand.

They will take great heart from some of the batting performances they put together in New Zealand, particularly Shakib Al Hasan's double-century - and his massive partnership of 359 with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim.

Bangladesh suffered an injury blow in their warm-up match with India A, when opener Imrul Kayes aggravated an existing thigh injury, which has now ruled him out of the Test. The man likely to replace him is the in-form Soumya Sarkar, who made 86 on Test debut - and cracked a half-century against India A from first-drop.

Bangladesh's quicker bowlers are working closely with West Indies pace legend Courtney Walsh, but Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Taskin Ahmed are likely to be reduced to a support role behind the spinners.

Mehedi Hasan put in a match-winning performance against England on debut, before struggling a little in New Zealand. He could prove to be a handful in Indian conditions - and is sure to test the India batsmen's ability against quality spin. He will be backed up by experienced all-rounder Shakib - and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.

Bangladesh have improved tremendously in the last two years - and could spring a surprise or two, but it is hard to see how they could beat the number one side in the world.


Verdict: India 1/8
India have the stronger of the two batting line-ups - and they have the bowling attack to bowl any opponent out twice on their own patch.

There are too many world beaters in the India side for them to slip to defeat. They have shown, throughout this season, they can absorb pressure and - above all else - they are ruthless in the way they seize opportunities to put the game away.

We fancy this one will go five days, but we see India clinching it - and continuing their unbeaten run at home against a team they have never lost to.

Value bet: A Hundred to be Scored in the first innings 6/10
In the last Test played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, both Vijay and Pujara got to three figures, with the latter going to a double-ton. With quality players of spin in both teams, it is no stretch to believe that we are going to see at least one player ton up, in the first knock, in Hyderabad.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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