Bangladesh are reportedly looking to unleash their full pace battery but there arises a question regarding the Bangladeshi seamers. Are they good enough to take 20 Indian wickets?
The first Test at Indore went wrong for the Tigers in several ways, but the factor that hurt the visitors most was the lack of fast bowlers on a seam-friendly track.
Abu Jayed Rahi and Ebadat Hossain impressed with their bowling, but a missing third seamer only led to the ones available being tired after long spells.
Now, as the Eden Gardens wait for the first-ever Day-night Test in the subcontinent, reports suggest that the pitch will have a tint of grass on it, which will inevitably help the seamers. Add in the dew factor after the sunset, and spinners look like a gamble which Bangladesh might not take.
In such conditions, Bangladesh are reportedly looking to unleash their full pace battery, along with one spinner. But there arises a question regarding the Bangladeshi seamers, are they good enough to take 20 Indian wickets?
Abu Jayed surely showed prowess with the ball in hand in the only Indian innings and Ebadat generated good initial pace. Rahi ended up picking up four wickets and Ebadat managed one.
But if that shows promise, the experience of Bangladesh's available pace battery is inadequate to say the least. The four seamers, Abu Jayed, Ebadat, Mustafizur Rahman and Al-Amin Hossain have a combined experience of 28 Tests, with Mustafiz being the most experienced with 13.
This will look even more imbalanced after looking at the pace battery of the hosts, as their least experienced seamer, Umesh Yadav has played 44 Tests.
The inexperience is a big problem, but there is one which is even bigger - the ordinary record Bangladesh seamers generally provide away from home. The main reason behind this is the seamers are used to playing in slow surfaces back home, and there are very few seamers who can use the seam properly to swing the ball.
This results in poor and ineffective outcomes, and that shows in the stats.
Bangladeshi seamers have only managed one five-wicket haul away from home on four occasions, with the last one coming in 2013 when Rabiul Islam registered figures of 6-71 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo.
The other three bowlers are Manjurul Islam, Shahadat Hossain and Rubel Hossain, who picked up five wickets against South Africa, England and New Zealand respectively. Manjurul picked up the figures of 6-81, whereas Shahadat and Rubel ended with figures of 5-98 and 5-166 respectively.
Neither the average nor the strike rate of Bangladeshi pacemen away from home is convincing, as the best average belongs to Rabiul with 31.87. The highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh away from home is Shahadat, who picked up 28 wickets in 16 matches with an average of 55.75.
Mashrafe Mortaza comes second with 27 scalps in 19 innings with an average of 49. Syed Rasel has the best strike rate away from home with almost 48 balls for each wicket. Abu Jayed is at second with picking up a wicket in every 54 deliveries.
If Bangladesh are looking to go full throttle with all of their four seamers, they must also consider the lack of both experience and skill. Mustafiz has looked out of sorts in the limited-overs format and his past record in the white shirt is better than most of Bangladesh's seamers, but that may not be convincing enough.
Apart from Abu Jayed, none of the seamers Bangladesh have at their disposal are capable of swinging the ball both ways, let alone causing serious trouble for the batsmen. Al-Amin played his last Test back in 2014, and he has only managed six wickets in that many matches.
Ebadat is a newbie in the Test arena and Mustafiz has picked up 28 wickets in his 13 matches, though only 12 of those came away from home. As an interesting stat, Ebadat has an average of 153 in Test matches, with Mustafiz, Abu Jayed and Al-Amin having an average of 35.17, 36.06 and 76.66 respectively.
These averages, by no means look threatening in front of the brilliant Indian batting lineup.
The statistics of the Bangladeshi seamers look almost incapable of instigating any sort of excitement among the supporters. Bangladesh managed to completely obliterate Windies with a spin-quartet at home in tailor made pitches, but none of the Bangladesh seamers seemed capable as the spinners on favoured conditions.
And with the seamers averaging more than the batsmen, the idea of unleashing a pace-quartet and leaving the team a batsman short needs to be double-checked. If not, the Tigers might just receive another embarrassing defeat from the hosts as a parting gift.