The Indian Test team will face the touring Bangladesh side in a 2-match Test series beginning on November 14 with the first match taking place in Indore. The Indian side has been in rampant form and has won its last five Test matches in a row.
Bangladesh is not the strongest team around but they have one advantage over teams like South Africa. Being a sub-continental side, their batsmen may be more comfortable playing spin bowling than teams from outside Asia. Despite the absence of Shakib-Al-Hasan, the Tigers can give India a tough challenge.
So, as the series is all set to get underway on Thursday, let's look at those five most important things that will shape its outcome.
Mehidy and Taijul's performance
Both Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam have been good performers for Bangladesh over the years. While Mehidy has had issues with his action, Taijul is a very capable left-arm spinner. With India having shown vulnerability, at times, against good spin bowling, here is a great opportunity for both to make a mark. However, Mehidy struggled badly in his last appearance against India.
If Bangladesh have to make a mark in this series, they can't rely only on pacers. A big effort is required from both these men. Taijul may be the key to Bangladesh's fortunes.
Performance of Ashwin
While he continues to be a prolific wicket-taker, Ravichandran Ashwin hasn't been running through the opposition in the last couple of years. Even in the series against South Africa, apart from one innings, he didn't have the success that people have become attuned to seeing his achieve. Therefore, his performances in these two matches will be closely watched.
He may have plundered runs against South Africa but Rohit Sharma's credentials as a proper Test batsman won't be established firmly until he gets runs outside the sub-continent. Still, this series will be another opportunity for him to make a mark and strengthen his case. Also, since Rohit is quite a brutal player of spin bowling, if he gets going, Bangladesh's spin attack may get completely torn apart.
Hence, getting his wicket early would be very important. On top of that, his performance in the second Test holds great importance since he would be facing the new pink ball, which is expected to swing more. How he deals with it will tell us a lot about Rohit's technique and ability to succeed in difficult conditions.
With Shakib out of reckoning, the captaincy has been given to Mominul Haque. A talented left-hander, Mominul was averaging nearly 60 in the early part of his career. At the moment, his average has come down to 41.47 but he still has 8 hundreds under his belt.
The fact that he has been given the job of captain shows the enormous faith selectors have in him. He is yet to come up with a big performance against a top Test side away from home. This series is his opportunity. If Bangladesh have to do well, they need to have their captain lead from the front.
Survival against pink ball
Both teams are playing a pink-ball Test for the first time. The pink ball is notorious for swinging more than the red one. This might create problems for the top order of both teams in the second Test. If one of the teams is able to avoid the collapse of the top order, they will have a huge advantage going ahead in the game. This is one aspect of the game that needs to be looked at closely.