This is the sort of match which normally does not raise eyebrows, however this time it will be different. It pits the two teams currently at the bottom of the Test rankings, and it marks the return of Zimbabwe into Test cricket after almost six years. Bangladesh, on the other hand have not played a Test in fourteen months, and are looking back to get into the mainstream.
Brendan Taylor is one of only three players to have played a Test in the Zimbabwe squad, and he will lead the hosts in this match. Tatenda Taibu will also play an important role with his experience. Elton Chigumbara, Ray Price and Vusi Sibanda will have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in their respective departments if Zimbabwe are to stay competitive. The one factor which could work in Zimbabwe’s favour is that Bangladesh will face up to a relatively unknown attack. Opening batsman Tino Mawoyo, middle-order batsman Craig Ervine and bowlers Kyle Jarvis and Brian Vitori should all make their debuts in this match.
Bangladesh had a miserable start to their tour as they were soundly thrashed by Zimbabwe A in a warm up match. Although, their spinners made some impact, it was disheartening to see their batsman show no application whatsoever. They will be looking to put that match behind them and a strong batting line up on paper should fire. Tamim, Nafees, Ashraful and Shakib form the core of their batting line up while the rest will bat around them. Mahmudullah is declared fit to play while Shafiul and Rubel will spearhead the pace attack.
The conditions should favour Zimbabwe but Bangladesh will want to the world that they deserve more Test matches. A resounding victory here will be the first step to achieving that goal. On paper, it is the strong Bangladeshi side that are favourites, but as we all know, games are not won on paper.