It is not the first time when Bangladesh have opted for an all-spin bowling attack against opposition at home conditions in Test cricket.
Having played just one-seamer in the first test and no seamer at all in the second against West Indies in their last home series, Bangladesh have once again gone with a spin-heavy attack against Afghanistan in the one-off test on Thursday. While the pitch conditions and team management- all favours spin bowling in Bangladesh, going in with one-dimensional attack would fare in the long run is still a topic of debate.
For the majority of cricket pundits, it’s necessary to have a balance between spin and pace in a bowling attack, skipper of Bangladesh cricket Test team Shakib-Al-Hasan believes otherwise.
“We don’t criticise England and Australia for picking four seamers and no spinners,” he argued. “So I am not too bothered about it. We will try to win with one, two or three seamers, but we must stick to our plan.
“Whenever our spinners have got their preferred type of pitches, they have done well at home. Having said that, they [Afghanistan] also have quality spinners. I feel the batting of both teams will make the difference.”
Come the first day of the one-off test between Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the Rashid Khan and Co. looked well prepared to gauge the one-dimensional attack on Thursday.
Having been reduced to 77 for 3, Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan struck a wonderful partnership and negated Bangladesh’s spin attack of any further damage in the day. The duo helped his side notch up 271 runs in the first day’s play, and picking just 5 wickets.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan used as many as seven spin bowling options with only Taijul Islam and Nayeem Hasan bringing much of an impact with their overs.
Perhaps, had there been a specialist bowler in the side, Bangladesh would have something to experiment with. In the last few years, Bangladesh have formed a solid one-day pace bowling attack, with Mashrafe Mortaza leading the pack among others.
However, the usage of seamers over the years has become minimal for Bangladesh in home conditions in Test Cricket.
Perhaps preparing spin-favourable pitches and giving lesser opportunities to young fast bowlers with the likes of Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin to name a few will only make them less effective at pitches at overseas pitches.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan cricketer Rahmat Shah became the first-ever Afghanistan batsman to score a Test century on Thursday, notching as many as 102 runs off 187 balls. He struck 10 fours and 2 sixes in his valiant knock, putting his team to a good position on Day 1 of the first Test.
Afghanistan have posted 271/5 in 96 overs in the first day’s play, with Asghar Afghan and Afsar Zazai unbeaten at 88 and 35 respectively.