England: Rob Key's tips to Test success in Bangladesh
By Rob Key
Last Updated: 18/10/16 8:25pm
Ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh, which starts on Thursday, Rob Key picks his five keys to success for England.
England have got to be favourites for 2-0. But victories in the sub-continent are not easy to come by.
England will be tested on some very slow, low pitches. Plus, as we saw in the ODI series, this Bangladesh side are no pushovers. With the bat, there is the likes of Tamim Iqbal, and the captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, to worry England, while Shakib Al Hasan will carry the threat with the ball…
Openers need to fire
I watched Alastair Cook preparing while he was out here during the one-dayers. He worked very hard. He looked in good touch, and if he gets in on these kinds of surfaces, he can really churn out runs - we saw that in the UAE. It was only really the class of Yasir Shah that stopped Cook, otherwise you saw him never getting out.
Ben Duckett, in the one-day series, was exceptional. He makes it in to the team as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see him opening with Cook. These pitches will turn, but he seems to have the perfect game for it all. He scores quickly, but by manipulating the ball; not block, block, slog.
Moeen must bat at 5
Moeen Ali is one of the top six batsmen in the country in my book, so I have no problem with moving him up to No 5. In fact, I think it is key England bat him there.
I think it allows you the luxury of having enough seamers and spinners in the side, with Ben Stokes at No 6 a massive bonus in terms of balancing the team. Plus, moving Moeen up the order and treating him as more of a batsman, will take the pressure off him as a spinner a bit too.
Batty should start series
You have Moeen and Adil Rashid sure to start. Plus Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad will play, with Stokes as your third seamer. So it is then a question of whether you want Steve Finn or Jake Ball, or Gareth Batty or Zafar Ansari as your final bowler.
At Chittagong certainly, I would play three spinners, and plump for Batty. Bangladesh have a lot of left-handers, and it is always beneficial to have the ball spinning away from left-handers, which Batty will do.
Big series for Rashid
In one-day cricket, Rashid has shown he is a consistent wicket-taker. Since the 2015 World Cup, he is England's leading wicket-taker with 48 in 32 games, and has been one of the best spinners in the world.
It is a big winter for Rashid though. He needs to be England's attacking spinner in Tests. He isn't necessarily someone who can hold an end, but he doesn't need to - he just needs to take wickets. Couple that with Moeen, and possibly Batty, who can offer a bit more control, and Rashid should be a threat.
Stop Shakib spin threat
That's England's spinners taken care of, but obviously the batsmen will need to be wary of the threat the Bangladesh spinners pose, with them picking only two seamers in their squad. Shakib Al Hasan is probably the biggest weapon and Bangladesh's trump card.
England are more than capable of handling him. It will be a slow turner in the first Test at Chittagong, like we saw in the one-dayers, so England are going to have to be ready for that and able to master spin to win the series.
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