Bangladesh may target Pietersen with spin

Last Updated: Jun 03, 2010, 22:05 PM IST

Old Trafford: England face a trial by spin in Friday`s second Test at Old Trafford after Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said he felt a couple of their batsmen including Kevin Pietersen were vulnerable.

Pietersen, England`s best batsman, has been dismissed 16 times by left-arm spinners in just over two years.

He will need to be braced for an extra challenge afer Siddons told a news conference on Thursday that left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak could replace a pace bowler.

The Old Trafford pitch favours the slower bowlers and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar bowled England to victory against New Zealand in the last Test on the ground two years ago.

Siddons said captain Shakib Al Hasan, another left-arm spinner, could be a real threat. Pietersen was bowled by Shakib in the first innings in the first Test at Lord`s which England won by eight wickets on Monday.

"We might even play another spinner and include Abdur Razzak and put them under pressure with spin rather than pace. There are couple of players in the England side who have struggled against spin," Siddons said.

Prompted to name names, the straight-talking Australian said: "Kevin has been having trouble and hopefully keeps having trouble."

Pietersen, who averages 49 in 61 Tests, scored 99 against Bangladesh in Chittagong in March but was still out twice to left-arm spinners in the match.

Lord`s debutant Robiul Islam is likely to make way for Razzak and paceman Shafiul Islam may come in for Rubel Hossain.

England captain Andrew Strauss said he expected his spin bowler Graeme Swann to pose more of a threat after he failed to take a wicket at Lord`s. It was the first time the off-spinner has failed to take a wicket after bowling in both innings in a Test.

"Their batsmen all played Graeme well but when we faced their spinners on the last day at Lord`s there was no spin whatsoever," Strauss said. "Here I would expect more pace and bounce and for the pitch to spin from days three and four."

Strauss said his final XI would depend on whether Tim Bresnan, out with an injured foot, was replaced by left-arm swing bowler Ryan Sidebottom or right-arm fast-medium bowler Ajmal Shahzad.

Shahzad, the first British-born Asian to play for Yorkshire, toured Bangladesh without making his Test debut and also missed out at Lord`s. Sidebottom`s last Test was in January but he then came back to help England win the World Twenty20 last month.

"That is looking the most likely scenario," Strauss said.

"With Ryan we know what we are going to get. He is an experienced campaigner and very good in English conditions and provides something different being left-arm.

"We don`t know much about Ajmal at the moment but we are excited that he has got pace and can swing the ball both ways. We have to choose the man who we feel is going to help us win the Test match."

Teams (from):

England - Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom.

Bangladesh - Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Jahurul Islam, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Rubel Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam.

Bureau Report