Part of the challenge for Bangladesh in the ongoing World Cup has been to adjust not just to the different pitches across the United Kingdom, but also to the ground dimensions. Having played their last match on a rare, circular-shaped ground in Southampton, Bangladesh will have to make another adjustment to contrasting boundary sizes when they face off against India in a must-win encounter at Edgbaston today.
The square boundary on one side of the ground is 59 metres, while it is around 80 metres at the opposite end of the ground. There is double trouble for Bangladesh as far as the dimensions are concerned. While the Tigers will try to adjust to the boundary sizes, India have already played a match on the same wicket just two days ago during a 31-run loss against England. India skipper Virat Kohli was not too happy with the 59-metre boundary on one side, presumably because it negated his spinners. After the match, he took a tongue-in-cheek dig at the boundary size. Happy or not with the dimensions, India will have had experience of what to do in such conditions today.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, had been on a five-day break since the match against Afghanistan and, unlike previous venues, could not practise at the centre wickets yesterday, which denied them a feel for the ground conditions. They also did not have the option of coming to practise on their five-day break because two matches -- New Zealand-Pakistan on June 26 and India-England on June 30 -- had been played during that period.
“We knew about the system before playing the tournament -- that we would have an eight-day break,” skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza replied when asked during the pre-match press conference yesterday whether the break helped. “The ground was busy because two matches took place [in that period]. It is difficult because the teams [playing the matches] were practising here too.”
England utilised the shorter boundary to good effect against India, hitting their spinners for sixes to the shorter side of the ground.
“We will have to look at whether it will be possible to bowl spinners from both ends,” Mashrafe said.
With India being such good players of spin, that may open the door for pacer Rubel Hossain. Rubel had a good outing in the teams’ last match in the Asia Cup final in September 2018, almost bowling Bangladesh to a win with figures of two for 26 in 10 overs. The option may be to rest off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz and opt for Rubel, and counting on Mosaddek Hossain to bowl some overs of spin and Soumya Sarkar to chip in with some medium pace.