The world may see this series as one between two teams languishing at the bottom of the ICC Test rankings, but the upcoming two-match Test series between Bangladesh and the West Indies promises to be interesting in its own ways.
The last time the two sides met in this format was a year and a half ago in Bangladesh and it was a keenly contested series. Bangladesh don't have happy memories of their last Caribbean tour when it comes to this format but will definitely look to start afresh under the new captain Shakib Al Hasan.
Bangladesh are coming into the series on the back of four losses out of their last five Tests and their only success this year remains the historic Test win in New Zealand. On the contrary, the West Indies have enjoyed a good time in their last series against England and will be keen to sustain the momentum. The first Test will be held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound where Bangladesh were bundled out for 43 four years ago. But this is a much improved Bangladesh side and they will be desperate to better their records away from home.
Fragile middle-order may hurt Tigers
Mushfiqur Rahim, the only active middle-order batter from Bangladesh to have a Test hundred in the West Indies, will not be part of the series. Yasir Ali has shown some solidity in his previous outings with the bat and was supposed to replace Mushfiqur. But as luck would have it, he has also been ruled out of the series due to an injury. With Mominul Haque and Najmul Hossain Shanto having a real bad time with the bat, a lot will depend on the in-form Litton Das.
Although Shanto got a fifty in the three-day warm-up match, Mominul failed to bother the scorers. Shakib Al Hasan, who is likely to bat a bit higher than usual because of Mushfiqur's absence, has done well in the past in the Caribbean with the bat and as the captain, he will have to shoulder an extra responsibility. Bangladesh batters barring Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das failed more often than not against Sri Lanka and the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim might make a difference in the end.
No Holder for the West Indies, Roach declared fit
Kemar Roach and Jason Holder have been two of the most prolific bowlers on this ground but the latter won't feature in this series. Holder has been extremely successful against Bangladesh as well, having taken a wicket every 16 balls. Bangladesh will be a bit relieved not to face him but the likes of Roach, Jaydan Seales and Alzarri Joseph can cause serious damage too.
Roach was the chief demolisher when Bangladesh were all-out for 43 on the same ground in 2018. Three out of Roach's nine five-fors in Tests have come against Bangladesh.
The pitch of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound is known to be on the slower side although it helps the seamers early on. The pitch starts to slow down as the time progresses and it is extremely difficult to chase on this very ground with the highest successful chase here being only 102.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz has returned to the Test side after recovering from an injury and he will share the spin duties with Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib has two five-wicket hauls in the Caribbean and his bowling strike rate there is much lower than his career strike-rate. But they will be up against a batting line-up that has had a pretty decent time in the recent past, led by Kraigg Brathwaite. The West Indies skipper is one of the players to watch out for in the series and Bangladesh cannot afford to let him bat long.
The average first innings score on this ground is 287 but the team winning the toss should look to bat first keeping in mind that the conditions won't be easy for batting on day four or five.