Indore: Virat Kohli's India will be aiming to strengthen their No 1 position in the World Test Championship when they take on Bangladesh in the first of their two-match series against Bangladesh in Indore on Thursday.
India start as favourites to pick up 120 points from the two games against a Bangladesh side missing key players.
The hosts have recorded two cleansweeps in the five-day format since the start of the Test championship in August, beating South Africa and the West Indies. New Zealand and Sri Lanka are second and third, but are 180 points behind, though they have played only one series each.
India go into the first match in Indore boosted by a 2-1 T20I series win over Bangladesh. Kohli, who opted out of the T20 matches, returns to lead the side that has recently won a record 11th straight series at home.
Rohit Sharma has been in hot form, hitting two centuries and a double ton in his debut series as an opener against South Africa.
The pace department also looks settled despite the absence of injured Jasprit Bumrah and played a key part in the three convincing Test wins over South Africa.
Bangladesh, under new captain Mominul Haque, had a troubled build-up to a series after star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned by ICC for failing to report corrupt approaches.
Earlier a player revolt put the India tour in doubt before the national board gave in to players' demands.
The touring side is also missing prolific opener Tamim Iqbal who has taken a break due to family reasons.
Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad will form the crux of the team's batting alongside Mominul who was not part of the T20 squad.
"I never considered captaincy as pressure or responsibility. If I keep thinking that as a captain I have to take extra responsibility to carry the team forward then I will be in some pressure," Mominul said after being named as captain. "But if I play my natural game, and think that I am a batsman who needs to score for his team, then it will not have any effect."
The second match of the series will be the first day-night Test to be staged in India. Kolkata's Eden Gardens will host the spectacle.
As for the weather conditions for the first Test which starts in Indore on Thursday, the forecast, according to Accuweather, looks promising in that rain is nowhere on the horizon. There will be hazy sunshine brought on by deteriorating air quality which could make things tough for the cricketers.
With inputs from Agence France-Presse
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Virat Kohli took over India Test captaincy from MS Dhoni in late 2014 and became the all-format captain in early 2017.
It is understood that Shubman has been told that he would bat in the middle-order in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, where Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in the absence of Virat Kohli, who is on a break
That India were one wicket away from winning the first Test against the world champions was testament to their tenacity and skills, but there’s work yet to be done.