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Stuart Dalgleish 27th Feb 2010 - 15:28

Untested openers could give Bangladesh the edge

England (1/5) kick-off their tour of Bangladesh (7/2) with a straightforward looking three-match One Day International series, but will the openers be able to build a solid platform for success?

Much has been made of the decision to rest captain Andrew Strauss for this tour, and many have looked at Alastair Cook (9/2 top England batsman) as a good candidate to replace him as skipper of the side, but he hasn't appeared in an ODI for over a year.

There can't be much doubting the opener's fine shot selection and composure at the crease, but it's been shown on a few occasions that his style is more suited to the longer format of the game and with a debutant in Craig Kieswetter (4/1 top England batsman) joining him in the middle this is where Bangladesh will look to gain an advantage as they chase a first ever win over England in any form of the game.

A surprising stat indeed considering England's often erratic form in pyjama cricket, but the Three Lions have won 12 from 12 against the Tigers and are the only Test-playing nation that Bangladesh haven't beaten.

The win will surely eventually arrive but maybe not in this series, their only hope is that England struggle at the top of the order and that they can keep their improved batting form going. Bangladesh to score more than England for the opening partnership is a 6/4 shot (England are 1/2, the same amount of runs scored is 20/1).

Their upturn in (batting) form is perhaps surprising given that one of their best players Mohammed Ashraful has been going through his worst spell with the bat and as such has been left out for this series (at his own request), his place in the squad has been taken by Mohammad Sohrawordhi who will make his debut should he play the first ODI.

The results have still been bad for Bangladesh, having lost 11 games of all forms of cricket in a row, but individual performances from a few players such as Tamim Iqbal (7/2 top Bangladesh batsman), who's scored three fifties and a century in his last nine innings and Mushfiqur Rahim (6/1 top Bangladesh batsman), who's also scored well recently in the middle order, have given the Tigers hope that they can start turning some of these defeats into wins; they just need the bowlers to start taking 10 wickets!

Their cause will be helped by the return of Mashrafe Mortaza, who hasn't played since July; the fast bowler got through eight overs (without success) against England in a warm-up game and could prove value at 7/2 to take the most wickets for Bangladesh.

England will still be without James Anderson who's in the UK with Strauss, but that's because of injury not for a recharge, the pitch at Dhaka is likely to favour the spinners more than the fast bowlers though so Graeme Swann will be getting plenty of action; he's an 11/4 shot to take the most wickets for the tourists.

England's renewed ODI form should see them win the match, but value could definitely be found In-Play should the Three Lions struggle with the conditions early on, make sure you're with us to bet on a huge range of markets.



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