In­dia look to build on top Test spot

The National - News - - SPORT -

Vi­rat Kohli’s In­dia will be aim­ing to strengthen their po­si­tion at the top of the world Test cham­pi­onship when they start a two-match se­ries against Bangladesh to­mor­row.

In­dia start as favourites to pick up 120 points from the two games against a Bangladesh side miss­ing key play­ers.

The hosts have recorded two clean-sweeps in the five-day for­mat since the start of the Test cham­pi­onship in Au­gust, beat­ing South Africa and the West Indies. New Zealand and Sri Lanka are second and third, al­ready 180 points be­hind though they have played only one se­ries each.

In­dia go into the first match in In­dore boosted by a 2-1 Twenty20 se­ries win over Bangladesh.

Kohli, who opted out of the T20 matches, re­turns to lead the side that re­cently won their record 11th straight se­ries at home. Ro­hit Sharma has been on hot form, hit­ting two cen­turies and a dou­ble ton in his de­but se­ries as opener against South Africa.

The pace depart­ment also looks set­tled de­spite the ab­sence of injured Jasprit Bum­rah and played a key part in the three con­vinc­ing Test wins over South Africa.

Bangladesh, un­der new cap­tain Mominul Haque, had a trou­bled build-up to a se­ries after star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned for two years, with one year sus­pended, by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil.

He ad­mit­ted fail­ing to de­clare il­le­gal ap­proaches by book­ies and the ban ruled Shakib out of the tour and next year’s World T20 in Aus­tralia.

Ear­lier a player re­volt put the In­dia tour in doubt be­fore the na­tional board gave in and in­creased match pay­ments.

The tour­ing side is also miss­ing pro­lific opener Tamim Iqbal who took a break due to fam­ily rea­sons.

Li­ton Das, Mush­fiqur Rahim and Mah­mudul­lah Riyad will lead the team’s bat­ting along­side Mominul who was not part of the T20 squad.

“I never con­sid­ered cap­taincy as pres­sure or re­spon­si­bil­ity. If I keep think­ing that as a cap­tain I have to take ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity to carry the team for­ward then I will be in some pres­sure,” Mominul said after be­ing named cap­tain.

“But if I play my nat­u­ral game, and think that I am a bats­man who needs to score for his team, then it will not have any ef­fect.”

The second match of the se­ries will be the first day-night Test to be staged in In­dia, hosted by Kolkata’s Eden Gar­dens.

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