In the spotlight
After a brilliant World Cup, Shakib Al Hasan is back playing for Bangladesh after a rest, during which Bangladesh toured Sri Lanka for an ODI series. He has been tasked to lead the side into a new era, albeit reluctantly.
How will Rashid Khan the bowler fare after becoming the captain, is a critical question for Afghanistan. He will be the man Bangladesh’s batsmen watch out for as well as target, and as much as they would like to wear him out, pitch and conditions in Chattogram could assist Rashid’s type of accurate, stump-to-stump spin bowling.
Shakib and Mushfiqur, having missed Bangladesh’s New Zealand Test series, will replace Tamim and Mustafizur Rahman. This is likely to push Soumya Sarkar to open with Shadman Islam, while Abu Jayed could be the token pace bowler.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Shadman Islam, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Liton Das (wk), 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Nayeem Hasan, 11 Abu Jayed
Afghanistan have three obvious changes to make from the side that played their last Test against Ireland. Mohammad Shahzad, Wafadar Momand and Waqar Salamkheil are all out of the reckoning, and could be replaced by Ibrahim Zadran, Zahir Khan and Qais Ahmed.
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Ihsanullah, 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi, 5 Asghar Afghan, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Ikram Alikhil (wk), 8 Rashid Khan (capt), 9 Yamin Ahmadzai, 10 Qais Ahmed, 11 Zahir Khan
Pitch and conditions
The curator here, Zahid Reza, has often produced sporting pitches, as much as it is possible while keeping the home team happy. Particularly in the 2016 Bangladesh v England Test, the evenness and consistency of turn and bounce ensured a good game of cricket. But rain has been forecast for all five days, and that could be a bummer.
Stats that matter
Taijul is one strike away from becoming the third Bangladeshi bowler to reach 100 Test wickets. The other two are Shakib and Mohammad Rafique.
Bangladesh have never won their maiden Tests against their previous opponents.
The uncapped Ibrahim was the standout performer during Afghanistan A’s tour of Bangladesh last month, having made 482 runs with a century and three fifties.