By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Dhaka : Under clear weather, both India and Bangladesh are keen to go all out for a win in the second cricket Test starting here Friday, after rains forced a dull draw in the first match in Chittagong.
Players in both camps look happy to be back in Dhaka where the weather has been clear, albeit humid, for the past two days, encouraging play at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, which is hosting its first Test.
The teams had their first practice session Thursday after a day off, and were back at the nets in the morning.
This will be the only fifth Test between the two countries, and the draw in Chittagong was the first such result between them. India have won the rest of the three matches since Bangladesh's Test debut in 2000.
Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly looked in fine touch in the last Test as they scored fine centuries while captain Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Karthik, who was thrust as an opener, made half-centuries.
Among the bowlers, left-arm pacer Rudra Pratap Singh was the pick of the lot as he bowled an accurate line and length throughout the match to bag four wickets.
Overall, India have less, or no, worries compared to Bangladesh. Both their batting and bowling attack clicked in the first match, and weather permitting they can only hope to improve.
Only leg-spinner Anil Kumble did not contribute anything, but for a solitary run, as he was down with fever. He did not even bowl a single ball.
Team manager Surendra Bhave said that the fever has gone but Kumble's condition is still being monitored. If Kumble plays here it will be his 115th Test. Only Tendulkar has played more Tests (136) than him in the present team.
Bangladesh – especially Mashrafe Mortaza – put up a fighting performance in Chittagong to avert the follow-on and then the rains and poor visibility contributed to the draw. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance.
In the second innings, opener Javed Omar hit a half-century after India had set a difficult target to win for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar said after the match that his team would enjoy a psychological edge in the second Test, but Dravid did not agree.
The fact is that a draw is a sort of achievement for Bangladesh, who have come up well in one-day cricket but have a lot to improve in the five-day Test matches. Their batsmen still play a lot of unnecessary shots in Tests and get out quickly as was seen in Chittagong.
Temperament, so important for Test cricket, is something they are missing from their approach towards the longer version of the game. That is one of the reasons why Bangladesh have lost 39 of their 45 matches, won only one and drawn five.
Another reason is that Bangladesh play very few Test matches these days as compared to the ODIs. Imagine, this week's Chittagong Test was their first in 13 months.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board needs to schedule more Test matches, and not allow it to succumb to the money-spinning ODIs, if it wants the team to improve.
Both teams are unlikely to make any changes in the XIs. But India will monitor Kumble closely before taking a decision on him.
The Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur here has never hosted a Test match. All previous matches – 17 Tests and 58 One-day Internationals – were held at the Bangabandhu Stadium.
India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthick, Zaheer Khan, Vikram Raj Vir Singh, Ishant Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar
and Rajesh Pawar
Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful (vice captain), Javed Omer, Shahriar Nafees, Shakibul Hasan, Rajin Saleh, Tushar Imran, Khaled Mashud (wicket-keeper), Mohammed Rafique, Enamul Haque (junior), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel and Mehrab Hossain (junior)
Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and Billy Doctrove
TV umpire: Nadir Shah (Bangladesh)
Reserve umpire: Monzur Rahman (Bangladesh)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)