- Bangladesh have won six straight series at home, beating Zimbabwe (twice), Pakistan, India, South Africa and, most recently, Afghanistan. They were pushed hard before defeating Afghanistan 2-1 and have played very little cricket in 2016, leaving some key players such as Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan short of form.
- England convincingly came out on top against Sri Lanka and Pakistan during their home summer to maintain an upward curve in white-ball cricket since the last World Cup in early 2015, when a loss to Bangladesh ended their hopes. Trevor Bayliss has assembled a talented squad with plenty of depth in all departments and some ferocious batsmen, as characterised by the record score of 444-3 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in late August.
The key factor will be how England adapt to what are expected to be slow, low and spinning surfaces. While captain Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales have both decided not to travel due to security fears, it is likely to be the rested Joe Root who England will miss most, as he is so adept at rotating the strike.
Ben Duckett is one of the players set to come into the side for the first time following a stellar summer for Northamptonshire, and could be worth a punt at 4/1 to be England’s top run-scorer as the top order may be be the best place to bat on sluggish pitches. Jos Buttler, acting skipper in the absence of Morgan, may be an even shrewder choice at 9/2. He has toured the country several times before at different age levels, looked in great touch in the warm-up match and will desperately hope to lead by example, perhaps even promoting himself up the order so that he can build a longer innings.
Bangladesh have trusted their promising seam attack over the past couple of years to inflict much of the damage, but without the injured pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman and his bamboozling box of tricks, they may decide it is wiser to pack their team with spin options against England. Shakib Al Hasan remains the talisman and appears to offer decent value at 5/2 to be his team’s top bowler.
Tamim Iqbal, coming off a century in the series-clinching victory over Afghanistan, has a good record against England and is an understandable favourite at 3/1 to be Bangladesh’s top batsman, although Sabbir Rahman may also be a good bet at 5/1 if he continues at No.3.
In terms of the overall series, it is tricky to pick a winner. If Bangladesh had more games under their belt recently, then their impressive list of scalps at home suggests they would probably be too good, but England have a lot of momentum behind them, a long batting order and varied bowling attack, so a 2-1 victory to the tourists at 6/4 may be the way to go.
Sports.net’s top tip: England to win 2-1 - 7/4
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.