India look to follow England's lead in Bangladesh Test series

KL Rahul will captain team with Rohit Sharma out due to finger injury

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, left, and his Indian counterpart KL Rahul with the Test series trophy in Chattogram. AP
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India look set to emulate England's attacking approach to Test cricket when they face Bangladesh in a two-match series which begins in Chattogram on Wednesday.

KL Rahul will be leading the Indian team as regular captain Rohit Sharma has been ruled out with a finger injury. India hope to have him back for the second Test in Mirpur, which starts on December 22.

India are currently fourth in the World Test Championship table and have six matches remaining in this cycle – two against Bangladesh and four against Australia – to climb into the top two to qualify for the final.

What has made the task difficult for India is the absence of a number of star players. Apart from Sharma, India are without senior pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Also, they enter the Test series after a 2-1 ODI series defeat against Bangladesh - the team's first series defeat by the Tigers in seven years in any format.

Despite the odds, captain Rahul said India will take aggressive route during the short series.

“We won't go in with any set mindset … we are going to go there and try to be aggressive and get a result,” Rahul said.

“The game is played over five days so it's important to break it down into smaller targets and try to achieve that. One thing is sure that you are going to see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side.”

Ben Stokes's England team have pioneering an attacking brand of batting in Test cricket, highlighted by their recent Test series win in Pakistan when they smashed over 500 runs in 75 overs on the first day in Rawalpindi.

Kishan and Kohli hit centuries in third ODI

India will be tempted to follow a similar philosophy. Rahul expects talisman Virat Kohli to be in a good frame of mind after the former captain smashed a century in their win in the third ODI.

“He has been in good form, he has done really well for us in T20 cricket and recently got a hundred against Bangladesh in the ODIs. So obviously he will take some confidence in the Test match as well,” Rahul added.

Uncapped batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran replaces Sharma in the team for the first test, while Navdeep Saini and Saurabh Kumar have been named as replacements for injured pair Shami (shoulder) and Jadeja (knee).

Bangladesh seamer Taskin Ahmed said the team's bowling unit will have to raise their game to take wickets on the flat pitch.

“Fast bowlers ideally want to bowl on green tops,” said the 27-year-old. “Conditions are not in our hands. We have got slow and flat tracks in South Africa and New Zealand.

“We have to make ourselves so skilful that we can bowl well on all types of wickets. Great bowlers are also getting five-fors on flat tracks. We have to focus on our self-improvement rather than look at conditions.”

Updated: December 13, 2022, 10:39 AM