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Tigers out to put England pair in a spin – Mortaza

England openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy can expect a slow start from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza (Mark Kerton/PA)
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza (Mark Kerton/PA)

Bangladesh are preparing to test the growing theory that England’s big-hitting openers are vulnerable to spin.

The Tigers take on England in Cardiff on Saturday attempting to defeat their opponents for the third World Cup in a row and slow bowling is sure to form a big part of their blueprint.

Slow left-armer Shakib-Al-Hasan and off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz will form a critical part of the Bangladesh attack and at least one of the pair is expected to take up new-ball duties – a growing trend against England’s fearsome top-order partnership of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.

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Shakib-Al-Hasan is primed for a key role against England (Nigel French/PA)

South Africa handed the first over the tournament to wrist-spinner Imran Tahir and bagged Bairstow for a golden duck, while Shadab Khan dismissed Roy cheaply when Pakistan replicated the tactic.

“We know that Shakib is one of the biggest strengths for us all over the world and Miraz has been doing well for a long time,” said captain Mashrafe Mortaza.

“The last two years he’s been doing so well for us with the new ball. These are tactics which we have seen against England, which South Africa started.

“So most of the teams (will be) taking these sort of tactics.”

England captain Eoin Morgan indicated his players were more than ready for the plan and have been preparing in earnest for it.

“Bangladesh will open with spin, definitely,” he said.

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England openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy could be tested by spin early on against Bangladesh (Richard Sellers/PA)

“I think it’s just another challenge that the two guys have been presented with.

“It’s like anything – when the ball swings it’s a new challenge, guys bowl short and it’s a new challenge, mystery spin is a new challenge. I’m sure they will kick on.”

Mortaza captained his country to their memorable victory in Adelaide in the corresponding fixture four years ago, with Shakib leading the side in Chattogram when they defeated England in the 2011 edition.

— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) June 6, 2019

Those memories still burn bright but Mortaza does not believe they change the dynamic once play gets under way at Sophia Gardens.

“I don’t think it’s going to help us a lot. It’s a new, fresh match,” he said.

“Both teams start from the first ball. We have beaten them the last two World Cups but that doesn’t mean that we will make it happen again. Yes, there is a chance but for that we will have to play to our best.”

PA

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