Improving Bangladesh seek gains amid rain threat
With only 185 overs possible, the Fatullah Test was a soggy old sandwich whose filling had been stolen. Although the culprit - rain - remains at large, the ODIs promise a renewal of appetite. MS Dhoni is back. Mashrafe Mortaza is back. A full-strength India take on an improving Bangladesh in the format both teams take to best, and there are reserve days.
The switch to ODIs puts the batsmen front and centre. Teams have racked up 300 or more 36 times in 116 innings - that's 30% - over the last five months. The 400 barrier is especially tempting in subcontinent conditions. India have a two time double-centurion and their quickest ODI centurion among the top three. Bangladesh's batting extends to No. 7 as well.
Not much for the bowlers to look forward to, perhaps, but Mirpur can behave strangely with the monsoons around. The last time India were here in June, there was exaggerated seam movement and the most they managed was 153 for 3. Some hope then for the likes of Taskin Ahmed. At 6'2", he seemed the beanstalk standing next to Mushfiqur Rahim's Jack at training. India have their own tearaway in Umesh Yadav, who won the approval of West Indian great Andy Roberts as India's first genuine fast bowler.
The series is doubly important for the hosts with Champions Trophy qualification on the line. They need to win at least one of the three games to remain in the top eight in the ODI rankings. Then depending on the outcome of the upcoming series against South Africa and the Pakistan-Sri Lanka ODIs, things change again.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Start time 1500 local (0900 GMT)
Bangladesh: WWWLW (last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Virat Kohli said the idea of a MS Dhoni-less dressing room was quite strange. He's here now, and he had a pretty long net on the eve of the match. Not too many were hit in the air, but the force behind each shot was startling. Now that Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, will we see the old, rampaging version who sees off ten balls and marks the 11th with a helicopter shot?
The last time Soumya Sarkar batted in ODIs, he struck an unbeaten 127 which went a long way to sealing his place as an opening batsman and prompting a Test selection as well. Since then his returns in international cricket have diminished. He would want to correct that trend.
Bangladesh will have to choose between Mominul Haque, Rony Talukdar and Litton Das to fill the injured Mahmudullah's place but there is still doubt whether that will be at No.3, or in the opening slot. It would be surprising to see the Tamim Iqbal-Soumya Sarkar combination being dismantled.
Bangladesh (probable): Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque/Litton Das/Rony Talukdar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed
India have brought a full-strength squad and it is likely they would field a full-strength XI as well. The only change to the line-up in the World Cup semi-final could be Bhuvneshwar Kumar replacing Mohammed Shami, who has a knee injury.
India (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt &wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma
Pitch and conditions
The Mirpur pitch has been on the slower side in ODIs lately but the question remains how exposure to the monsoon changes it. The weather watch will continue as well, with heavy rain forecast until 6 pm local time.
Stats and trivia
Bangladesh have beaten India in only one match in a bilateral series, in Dhaka in 2004. The teams have played three series in 2004, 2007 and 2014, with India winning by 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0 margins.
India's batsmen average 41.06 in ODIs against Bangladesh. India's batsmen average less than 40 against all other Full Members, with their average of 38.76 against Zimbabwe being the second best. Their strike rate of 83.96 against Bangladesh is also their highest against a Full Member nation.
"Every individual is different. All of you ask questions but your question is very different. It is the same way when it comes to captaincy. You don't want everybody to do the same thing."
India captain MS Dhoni
"The first match is most important. I know there are calculations about our rankings and that thought is also among us. But that is about the next six games and they aren't all happening today or tomorrow. We have to take it match by match."
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza