Bangladesh have a chance to stem the rising tide of criticism levelled at their entry into Test cricket when they face Brian Lara's unpredictable West Indies side in the first of two Tests here.
Bangladesh's record in Test cricket is dreadful. They have lost all but two of the 28 matches they have contested - the two draws in rain-ruined Tests against Zimbabwe - and on the basis of this evidence many believe their ascension was premature.
"The Test matches represent an opportunity for our guys to get out there and show that we are making progress," Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore remarked on Wednesday.
"I'm not interested too much if we are winning or losing in the longer game, but I want to know that we are heading in the right direction and can push the opposition. If we do that often enough in the five days, we are going to come close to victory," said the former Australian international and World Cup winning coach with Sri Lanka.
Some of the hostility directed at Bangladesh may have eased during the One-day International series albeit that West Indies had a 3-0 clean sweep.
The visitors lost the first match by one wicket and another in the last over to show their competitive spirit.
"We would have left an image of a team that is competitive, a team that is able and prepared to push the opposition without having the ultimate prize of a victory," Whatmore said.
"A lot of positives have come out of it, but at the end of the day, it's three matches played and three matches lost. I was quite confident of winning at least one ODI."
That's why West Indies can ill afford to take the Bangladeshis lightly. They have absolutely nothing to lose in the brief series.
For all their unpredictability, West Indies are overwhelming favourites to win the two Tests.
They are 17 points adrift from the rest of the established Test nations on the International Cricket Council Test Championship table and know full well the consequences will be particularly severe if they lose one of the matches.
Lara easily could put the series out of their reach with another majestic batting performance, or the fast bowlers, including Jermaine Lawson, who captured 11 wickets in the two-Test series two years ago in Bangladesh, could exploit their vulnerability to high-quality fast bowling.
Essentially, the series has become the battle for 'the wooden spoon' in Test cricket, considering Zimbabwe's tenuous position at the moment.
The Beausejour Stadium pitch normally plays on the easy side, but there was some indication from the ground authorities that they may look to liven it up to aid the home team fast bowlers.
Unseasonal weather has still been affecting the Caribbean in the last few days, but the long range forecast indicates there is a 30 to 50 per cent chance of rain.
WEST INDIES (from): Brian Lara (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Tino Best, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Ridley Jacobs, Jermaine Lawson, Dave Mohammed, Ravi Rampaul, Devon Smith, Dwayne Smith.
BANGLADESH (from): Habibul Bashar (capt), Alamgir Kabir, Alok Kapali, Enamul Haque Jr, Faisal Hossain, Hannan Sarkar, Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Manjural Islam Rana, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Mushfiqur Rahman, Rajin Saleh, Tapash Baisya, Tareq Aziz.
Yahoo / AFP >>