A resurgent West Indies side travel to Dhaka for the first test in a two match mini series against Bangladesh (3.30am GMT, Tuesday). After claiming the World T20 crown last month, Darren Sammy’s men will be anxious to prove their capabilities in the long form of the game.
Meanwhile, hosts Bangladesh continue to struggle in all levels of cricket but on home soil they can be tough to beat on occasions.
The betting odds listed below perfectly reflect the strengths of the two sides and the game could prove to be a challenge for the home team.
The Bangladeshis will hope that the tourists are ‘undercooked’ coming into this contest after a single warm up game was called off due to the condition of the outfield.
If the Windies hit form straight away, their task should be a comfortable one and their batting has clearly been strengthened by the return of Chris Gayle. The Jamaican left hander missed the most recent series with England but after his dispute with the national board was settled, his reintegration made an instant impact on the limited overs side.
Gayle’s presence merely reinforces a team that was hitting form in the test arena and Marlon Samuels is one player who made consistent scores on that England tour. Gayle, Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are the batters that Bangladesh need to target and hope that others struggle to take responsibility as West Indies sides have done in the past.
The Bangladeshi cause may not be helped by the inexperienced bowling line up and the selectors look set to award two new caps in this first test. Sohag Gazi is an exciting off spinner who has taken a hat trick in domestic cricket this season and looks a good prospect. The 21-year-old has also scored a hundred in this NCL campaign but his lack of experience will be sorely tested by the likes of Gayle and Samuels.
Bangladesh have also included medium pacer Abul Hasan for his first game but otherwise this is a familiar attack that features Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hosain and Rubel Hossain.
The home side’s batting line up can be effective at times but once again, it will rely exclusively on Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan to score the bulk of the runs.
The tourists bowling attack has been weakened by the withdrawal of Kemar Roach due to injury but this could be a perfect setting for Sunil Narine to show his credentials in the test arena. Narine returned to his best form in the recent World T20 and the pitches in Bangladesh should suit his mystery spin.
Overall, the West Indian side hold the key to this first game and the result will be heavily influenced by Narine with the ball and Gayle, Samuels and Chanderpaul with the bat. If those men hit something approaching their best form, this will result in a comfortable Windies victory.
This preview’s betting tips: West Indies to win at 4/9 with Bet365.