A tale of two pitches

Bangladesh vs West Indies 1st Test
The Bangladesh team tuned up for the Test series against West Indies with a practice session at the match venue -- the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium -- yesterday. Whether the pitch is a batters' paradise or spin friendly, (R to L) spinners Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Taijul Islam will be glad to have Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan spearheading the attack while pacer Mustafizur Rahman should add some bite. Photo: Rajib Raihan & BCB

The wicket at the centre of the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS), the venue for Bangladesh's first Test against West Indies, remains shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, there was nothing mysterious about the strip at the MA Aziz Stadium where West Indies were playing a two-day practice match against BCB XI, which ended in a draw yesterday.

It was so slow and low that West Indies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was standing barely 15 metres behind the wicket when a pacer of Shannon Gabriel's genuine pace was bowling.

"West Indies obviously have a very good pace attack -- there is no question about that," said BCB XI batsman and Bangladesh squad member Mohammad Mithun after the match yesterday. "Maybe we were more comfortable playing them because of the pitch. A lot depends on the wicket."

"It's the way I expected, it was quite slow and obviously we expect that when we are here in Bangladesh," said West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite with a wry smile that seemed to indicate that he knew what was going on.

However, no one except those in the Bangladesh team management and ZACS curator Zahid Reza know what to expect come November 22. There was a bit of grass on the wicket yesterday but that will likely be shorn off by the time the Test starts. However, whether that leaves a cracker of a Test wicket like the 2016 strip against England or a batting paradise like the one against Sri Lanka in February this year remains to be seen. But going by the pattern of wickets prepared for warm-up matches, it probably will not be like the absolute crawler of a pitch the tourists saw at the MA Aziz Stadium.



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