Bangladesh v England First Test Betting: One-man band Shakib to shine

Stuart Broad will lead England's attack
Stuart Broad will lead England's attack

Ed Hawkins previews the first Test from Chittagong early on Thursday and hopes for a small drift in the tourists' price...

"They are without their best bowler in Mustafizur and it appears they cannot even rely on a spinning wicket to expose English insecurities about being so far away from home."

Recommended Bets
Back England in-running at 1.84/5
Back Shakib Bangladesh top runscorer at 6/1 (Sportsbook)

Bangladesh v England
Thursday October 20, 05:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports


Bangladesh
Bangladesh have played only one Test in the last 14 months. Not surprisingly, there is some confusion as to what their best team is, particularly the bowling attack.

There is no Mustafizur Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (he only plays ODI these days) or Taskin Ahmed. That would be a potent and tricky attack. Instead, they have picked just the two pacemen in Shafiul Islam and the uncapped Kamrul Rabbi.

There are four spinners in the 14-man squad. But if the pitch is flat they are expected to pick just the two pacers, spinner Shuvgata Hom or 18-year-old offspinner Mehedi Hasan. This could pile the pressure on Shakib-al-Hasan, who will bat at No 6, who is expected to score the majority of the runs and take all the wickets.

One place below him will be Sabbir Rahman, who is more of an ODI hitter. He could counter-attack in tandem with Shakib in a risky but adventurous move.


England
Alastair Cook is set to become England's most capped player. The skipper has arrived late after the birth of his daughter but knowing Cook he is unlikely to feel distracted.

There is no James Anderson or Mark Wood. So Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes will be the main strike bowlers. Steven Finn could get a game if the selectors feel it is a flat wicket. If not, Adil Rashid, Gareth Batty and Zafar Ansari will compete for two spinner slots behind Moeen Ali.

Ben Duckett, he Northamptonshire batsman, could replace Gary Balance at No 4. Cook will open with Haseeb Hameed. Joe Root returns but there is unlikely to be room for Jos Buttler after he failed in a warm-up.


First-innings runs
There have been six Tests in the last five years at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdury Stadium. The first-innings totals read: 350-135-469-587-503-248. The wicket is expected to be pretty bland. In the last four first-class matches (October last year) three ended in stalemate with run-making easy.

England really should be capable of posting 450 first up. And Bangaldesh will be expected to bust 350.


Match odds
Bangladesh are 7.87/1, England 1.684/6 and the draw is 3.55/2. Our first job is to write off the hosts as any sort of value.

With no wins against top eight sides at home in 44 attempts they should be much bigger. They are without their best bowler in Mustafizur and it appears they cannot even rely on a spinning wicket to expose English insecurities about being so far away from home.

The best strategy is to follow Cook's advice (and pored over in our series preview here) who said that in these conditions the match would be pretty even until the last day and a half. That is code for England preparing to grind Bangladesh down.

As a result - and with runscoring easy - it is reasonable to assume some movement in the draw price and England. The former could well come odds-on which could provide a simple trade for profit. We will get with England if they come as big as 1.84/5.

Top Bangladesh runscorer
With an average of 42 against top eight sides at home, Shakib is Bangladesh's go-to man. On early prices he is 5.14/1 on the exchange. The Sportsbook have him at 6/1, which is clearly a rick given his superiority. Next best on stats criteria is Tamim Iqbal with an average of almost six runs fewer. Tamim is 16/5 on Sportsbook.


Top England runscorer
This could be a straight battle between Cook and Root, both of whom have fine records in Asia in the last five years. Cook averages a whopping 63 and Root the same. However, Cook has played 12 Tests to Root's four. The skipper is 4.216/5 with Root jolly at 3.9. We'd argue that Cook is the value. Debutants Duckett and Hameed are both 6.25/1.


Recommended Bets
Back England in-running at 1.84/5
Back Shakib Bangladesh top runscorer at 6/1 (Sportsbook)


Ed Hawkins P-L

2016: +177.82
2015: +£380.50
2014: +315.10
2013: +250.80
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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