Buoyant Pakistan gear for Bangladesh Tests

Chittagong: Pakistan will begin their first Test series in Bangladesh for almost a decade here on Thursday determined to extend their 100 per cent winning record against the hosts.

The tourists, who beat Sri Lanka in all formats of the game in the United Arab Emirates last month, have already asserted their supremacy over Bangladesh by making a 3-0 clean sweep of the one-day series.

Pakistan played their lone Test series in Bangladesh in January 2002, winning both matches in Dhaka and Chittagong by an innings under the captaincy of Waqar Younis.

Pakistan have won all of their six Tests against Bangladesh since 2001, the closest match being in Multan in 2003 when they triumphed by one wicket following Inzamam-ul-Haq`s match-winning unbeaten century.

The tourists, now led by reliable batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, were not seriously tested in the one-dayers against the hosts after putting in impressive performances with both bat and ball.

Batting is Bangladesh`s major worry, with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim saying his side needed to post big totals in the Tests to stretch Pakistan.

"Our bowlers did well all through the series, but our batsmen let us down. Hopefully, we will perform better in the Test matches," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

Bangladesh strengthened their batting by including former captain and middle-order batsman Mohammad Ashraful in the 15-man squad. Ashraful, with 2,418 runs in 56 Tests, will look to justify his recall after being dropped for the home series against the West Indies in October-November.

Bangladesh will rely on their spin attack led by Shakib Al Hasan and Elias Sunny to keep pressure on the Pakistani batting line-up at the traditionally spin-friendly venue in Chittagong.

Shakib is the key all-rounder in the side with 1,421 runs and 89 wickets in 24 Tests, while Sunny made an impressive seven-wicket Test debut at this venue against the West Indies two months ago.

Bangladesh will seek to improve their dismal run since gaining Test status in 2000, losing 61 of their 71 matches, winning just three with seven drawn.

The second and final Test will be played in Dhaka from December 17.

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mohammad Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Nazmul Hossain, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Robiul Islam, Mohammed Nazimuddin.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Aizaz Cheema, Mohammad Khalil.


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