Shakib, Taskin return to give Bangladesh badly needed boost

Dhaka (AFP) – Key Bangladesh bowlers Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed return from injury as the hosts fight to prevent a clean-sweep at the hands of Pakistan in the second Test in Dhaka.


Bangladesh trail the two-match Test series 1-0 after being beaten by eight wickets in Chittagong, where they badly missed a strike bowler.

The hosts were also whitewashed by Pakistan 3-0 in their Twenty20 series.

But Bangladesh have won five of their last seven Tests at Dhaka's Mirpur Stadium, including beating England and Australia, which will give them confidence that they can repeat the feat there when the Test starts Saturday.

Skipper Mominul Haque is hoping for pitch conditions at Mirpur to match those at Chittagong, where Bangladesh were competitive in the first four days.

"I prefer wickets like this. I think we had a perfectly flat wicket, which was helpful for the batsmen, but the pacers faced hurdles," Mominul said after losing the first Test.

Bangaldesh's left-arm spinner Taijul Islam staged a lone battle to claim 7-116 in the first innings.

But Pakistan cruised to an ultimately easy win, despite his efforts, thanks to a 151-run opening stand from Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique.

Taijul's regular spin partner Shakib missed the contest after a hamstring injury suffered during last month's Twenty20 World Cup.

Shakib was included in the first Test squad with hopes he would recover in time, but he was subsequently ruled out.

Bangladesh also missed the services of pace bowler Taskin after he injured his finger during the final Twenty20 international against Pakistan on November 22.

Taskin had been in fine Test form since making his comeback to the side after a four-year absence, picking up 11 wickets in three matches.

A number of changes are expected for the hosts for the second Test, with illness sidelining opening batsman Saif Hassan.

Bangladesh selectors named a 19-member squad, mindful of the upcoming series in New Zealand, where they will travel two days after the Dhaka Test.

Pakistan batsman Abid Ali, who scored 133 and 91 runs in the first Test, says that their previous wins count for nothing.

"It will be a new day and we need to bat with a positive mind," he said.

Pakistan sit second in the World Test Championship table.

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (captain), Shadman Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Abu Jayed, Nayeem Hasan, Mahmudul Hasan, Rejaur Rahman, Khaled Ahmed, Shohidul Islam, Mohammad Naim.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Zahid Mahmood.