1st Test: India primed to make short work of B’desh

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Indian team during a training session (AFP Photo)

INDORE, November 13: The action begins with the red cherry but the focus is firmly on the pink ball as formidable India look to overpower a depleted-but-gritty Bangladesh in the first Test of a two-match series starting here on Thursday.
The rubber opens here but the buzz and the talk has been consistently centered on the second game in Kolkata, which will be played under lights — a historic first for both the teams.
This is also that one series in the World Test Championship calendar, in which Virat Kohli’s men can steamroll the rag-tag opposition well inside four days.
In fact, on paper, it is difficult to imagine how Bangladesh, without Tamim Iqbal and the suspended Shakib Al Hasan, will even be able to compete in a format that has been their weakest till date.
Having crushed South Africa in their last series, the Indian team, with inarguably their greatest-ever pace unit, will definitely be too hot to handle for a side whose best batsman — skipper Mominul Haque — has less than 10 Test hundreds (eight).
Although Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad are committed cricketers but in the longest format, they aren’t exactly formidable names.
Compare that to India’s premier willow-wielders — Kohli (26 hundreds) and Ajinkya Rahane (11), Cheteshwar Pujara (18). They have 50-plus tons collectively and it will be one hell of a task for the Mustafizur Rahamans, Taijul Islams and Mehidy Hasan Mirajs to stop this line-up.
And before these three even come into play, Bangladesh will have to deal with openers Mayank Agarwal and the indomitable Rohit Sharma, who can make mincemeat of their bowling attack.
Add to it India’s bowling unit with 800-plus scalps, this is one contest where the ‘David’ looks incapable of slaying the proverbial ‘Goliath’.
Not to forget that Bangladesh, in their last Test match under the mercurial Shakib’s leadership, lost to Afghanistan in a one-off game. Shakib was ousted from this series owing to a two-year suspension for failing to report corrupt approaches to the ICC.
The Indians, however, do not want to take anything for granted.
“Bangladesh is a very good team. We played very well against South Africa but that’s past now. With (World) Test Championship, every match is equally important.
We like to take one game at a time, which is Indore (for) now,” vice-captain Rahane said.
“We completely respect the Bangladesh team and we are going to play to our strength rather than thinking about theirs,” he added. (PTI)