Horrified limited overs series, unwelcoming weather and green pitch; nothing is really talking in favor of Bangladesh ahead of it’s first test against a solid home side, New Zealand which is going to be started in Basin Reserve, Wellington from 4 am (BDT time) on Thursday.
Bangladesh will look to the experienced trio of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim to turn its fortunes around in the tour of New Zealand while New Zealand is focusing on keeping their recent performance intact.
As the pitch of Basin Reserve will surely offer pace and bounce on the opening day, it’ll be a huge toss to win for the teams. Good news for Bangladesh before the test series is Mushfiqur, Bangladesh’s Test captain, who missed the entire One-Day International and Twenty20 International series after picking up a hamstring injury in the opening ODI in Christchurch, is back.
But, Bangladesh need to work very hard for showing some magic as they have not been able to show some magics till now. Tigers were swept 3-0 in both ODIs and T20Is. This will be the 12th time the teams meet in the five-day game – a format where Bangladesh has never won against New Zealand. Moreover, this will also be the Asian side’s first overseas Test since September 2014.
But, despite the odds, Mushfiqur said his team had the weaponry to produce its first Test win over New Zealand, if his bowlers could stick to their game plan. While the playing XI hasn’t been announced, Taskin Ahmed could well make his Test debut on Thursday, with the impressive Mustafizur Rahman not being rushed into Test cricket after just returning from an injury.
Bangladesh team management will have a sweet problem of picking up one from Miraj, Soumya and Sabbir. No matter what they decide, they will have to start with a decent batting line up as batting in that kind of pitch won’t be so easy.
The home side will be boosted by the return of Ross Taylor, the experienced batsman, following eye surgery in late November and Trent Boult, the left-arm pacer, who missed the second Test against Pakistan because of a knee injury.
Meanwhile, from other pacers, Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme are a more-than-capable second string and, if New Zealand want to force home the point, including Matt Henry may be an better option.
In the batting, Jeet Raval and Tom Latham will be expected to give them a solid start and with Ross Taylor back in the lineup, New Zealand will have a stronger middle order that will focus on posting a large first-innings score.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2013 Second Test: Drawn in Dhaka
2013 First Test: Drawn in Chittagong
2010 One off Test: New Zealand won by 121 runs in Hamilton
2008 Second Test: Drawn in Dhaka
2008 First Test: New Zealand won by 8 wickets in
Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim(captain and wk), Sabbir Rahman/Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy.
Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
Dates: 12 to 16 January
Morning session: 11:00-13:00 (22:00-00:00 GMT -d)
Afternoon session: 13:40-15:40 (00:40-02:40 GMT)
Evening session: 16:00-18:00 (03:00-05:00 GMT)
On-field umpires: Paul Reiffel and Marais Erasmus
Third umpire: Sundaram Ravi
Match referee: Javagal Srinath.