India’s stand-in captain K.L. Rahul has won the toss and elected to bat first in the Test series opener against Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here on Wednesday.
After winning the toss for the first time on this tour, Rahul said India are playing three spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav — along with two fast bowlers in Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj.
“Looks like a good wicket and we’ll put the runs on the board and use the footmarks later on to get wickets. They’ve been a few injuries but that gives an opportunity to the other guys,” he said.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan stated if he had won the toss, he would also have opted to bat first. “But we’ll try to get some early wickets. If you got into the history (of this ground), more wickets have fallen on the opening day (than on the final). We will try to get early wickets and put them under pressure,” he said.
“It’s a little difficult (to adapt from white-ball cricket), we’re playing a Test after a big gap of five months but we’ve prepared well. This is an important series hopefully we can put some WTC points,” he added.
For Bangladesh, top-order batter Zakir Hasan, who made a heroic 173 to force a draw against India A in a four-day match at Cox’s Bazar, is making his Test debut, making him the 101st cricketer in this format from his country.
While India will be opening with Rahul and Shubman Gill, Bangladesh have dropped Mahmudul Hasan Joy to have their opening pair in Zakir and Najmul Hossain Shanto.
India are playing Tests after five months, while Bangladesh are featuring in the format after nearly six months. India need to win their remaining six Tests (or even five victories with a draw) – two in Bangladesh and four against Australia at home in February-March next year – to be in contention for the World Test Championship final to be played at The Oval in June 2023.
India: Shubman Gill, K.L. Rahul (c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Bangladesh: Zakir Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain