India look to consolidate World Test Championship position in Mirpur

Second Test against Bangladesh begins on Thursday with Indians second in championship table

India's coach Rahul Dravid, right, with Cheteshwar Pujara during a training session ahead of the second Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur. AP
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India will look to consolidate their position in the World Test Championship table when they face Bangladesh in the second Test which begins in Mirpur on Thursday.

The Indians are currently second in the table, behind leaders Australia, and just about one percentage point ahead of third-placed South Africa. If they continue their good form against the Tigers, India will be on track to qualify for the 2023 World Test Championship final in June.

India beat Bangladesh in the first Test in Chattogram by 188 runs. The visitors, led by KL Rahul in the absence of Rohit Sharma, had to work hard for the victory.

Set a huge target of 513 runs, Bangladesh put up a strong fight with Zakir Hasan and Najmul Hossain sharing a record opening partnership of 124.

Debutant Zakir scored a century and captain Shakib Al Hasan added 84 but India kept their cool and got the win. Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav had a memorable match, as he scored a crucial 40 lower down the order and also picked up eight wickets in the match.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was also among the wickets, Cheteshwar Pujara scored 90 and 102 not out in two innings, while Shubman Gill also recorded his maiden Test hundred in the second innings in what was a near complete performance from the visitors.

However, they have fresh injury concerns. Stand-in captain KL Rahul suffered a blow to his hand during practice but the touring side are optimistic the opener will play the second and final Test.

"It doesn't look serious," India batting coach Vikram Rathour said.

"He seems to be fine. Hopefully he'll be okay. The doctors are looking at it, but hopefully he'll be okay."

Should Rahul miss the match in Mirpur, vice captain Pujara is likely to lead the side. Rahul's injury could mean a Test debut for opener Abhimanyu Easwaran who was added to the squad after Sharma injured his thumb.

India's pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja are among the several front-line players missing the series with injuries.

Bangladesh, bottom of the table in the Test championship with just one win from 11 matches, were left ruing their dismal first innings.

"The most disappointing thing is the poor decision-making from the batters," said coach Russell Domingo.

"There's a lack of confidence in the top order. They are not managing to find a way to get out of the slump," he said.

Bangladesh will see at least one change in their line-up after pace bowler Ebadot Hossain was ruled out with a back injury.

Updated: December 21, 2022, 2:00 PM
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