After a good old go at defending the World Cup and the party-sharty of the IPL, it is back to the most important format of cricket for India – Tests – with the first of many upcoming challenges coming against Bangladesh in Fatullah starting Wednesday.
India have had a bit of a torrid time of it in Test cricket of late, thanks largely to the fact that they have played most of them away from home. While this match against Bangladesh will also be an away match, the conditions will be similar-enough that India will feel quite at home.
"As a young unit, we visited South Africa, New Zealand and England for the first time," India middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane told BCCI's official website. "It's very hard to compare right now.
"It's very hard to say that we did not do very well. As a unit, we are very experienced right now. We have got that experience and we know conditions very well. As a unit we will do very well in future."
The fact that India have won six of the total seven Test matches played against Bangladesh – the other one was a draw – will also work in their favour, with Virat Kohli also keen to begin his journey as permanent Test captain on the perfect note.
MS Dhoni, as good as he has been for India as captain, was not quite at his best when it came to Test cricket, with the wicketkeeper/batsman sometimes letting the game drift. That, hopefully, will not be the case for Kohli, who has the reputation for attacking, something so essential in Test match cricket, especially if you want to win matches, rather than just settle for draws.
Attack will also be the mantra for Bangladesh, who will go into this Test with absolutely nothing to lose. Nobody is expecting them to even compete in this long format of the game against the Indians, and that might just work in their favour as they do have the talent, particularly with the bat, to trouble the not-always-potent Indian bowlers.
Having said that, however, the India bowlers in sub-continental conditions and the India bowling on foreign shores are two completely different animals. When at home, with that pitch aiding the slower bowlers, India are a lot more dangerous, and the Bangladesh batsmen will do really well to quell the impending storm.
Storms – the actual ones – could also play a part in this Test match, with showers predicted over the next five days, which means this just could prove to be stop-start contest.
India, ideally, would like to avoid the rains and just play their cricket to the best of their ability, which, in turn, should help them turn over Bangladesh. If Kohli and co. drop the ball, though, this Bangladesh team are quite capable of causing an upset, even over five days.
Against Pakistan recently, Bangladesh showed they have the ability to bat under pressure, and even if they did crumble in the second Test, there were enough signs in there to point to the fact that this side have certainly improved since the last time India played Bangladesh played a Test match – back in January 2010, when the favourites won by ten wickets.
Where to Watch Live
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Bangladesh vs India Test Match is scheduled for a 10 pm local time (9.30 am IST, 5 am BST, 12 am ET) start. Live TV coverage in India and Bangladesh will be on Star Sports1 and Star Sports3. Viewers from the sub-continent can also watch Day 1 of the Test match via live streaming online on Starsports.com and Hotstar.
Audience in the Middle East and North Africa can flip their remotes to OSN Sports Cricket to watch the match Live, while the live stream option is OSN Play.
Viewers in the US can watch India vs Bangladesh Live on Willow TV, while the action can also be live streamed on Willow TV Online.