DHAKA: India were bolstered by the return of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and key off-spinner Harbhajan Singh ahead of the second and final Test against Bangladesh starting on Sunday.
The Indians, ranked number one in Test cricket, lead the short series 1-0 after their 113-run victory in the opening Test at Chittagong. Dhoni (back spasm) and Harbhajan (neck) missed the Chittagong Test and their return to the side in Dhaka will boost India's chances of securing a 2-0 scoreline.
"Harbhajan has recovered and is fit to play," Dhoni said at a pre-match press conference today. "I took part in the training session today. At this stage the way it is, I am hundred per cent fit to play."
India's middle-order batsman Venkatsai Laxman, who hurt his left hand while fielding in the slips at Chittagong, was ruled out of the match while paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has flown home to tend to a hamstring injury.
"Laxman is not fit and Sreesanth is also injured. We have to see what exactly the wicket looks like tomorrow before deciding on the final composition of the team," said Dhoni. The Indian skipper also praised opener Gautam Gambhir who became the fourth batsman ever to smash a century in five successive Tests during the Chittagong match.
"Gambhir is a very good batsman who is doing really well for us. We are just hoping he gets one more century in the Dhaka Test. It will be proud moment for him and for us." Australian Don Bradman holds the world record of hitting hundreds in six consecutive Tests. South African Jacques Kallis and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf are the others to have made centuries in five consecutive Tests.
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal said his side would try to learn from the mistakes in the Chittagong Test and put in a better performance with both bat and ball. "We had a few positives in the Chittagong Test," Iqbal said.
“Mushfiqur Rahim hit a century, Shahadat Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan got five wickets each. We want to improve on that. We made some mistakes at Chittagong and we'll try not to repeat those again. We are not there just to take part. We are here to compete and fight. We believe that we can draw the Test series."
Iqbal also backed under-fire teammate and former captain Mohammad Ashraful, who had scores of 2 and 27 at Chittagong. "Ashraful is very good player. He has scored five centuries. He will be among runs very soon."