Bangladesh in form but under strength
The Black Caps will face a team which won their most recent test outing by 546 runs when the two-match series commences in Bangladesh today.
That demolition of Afghanistan in Mirpur in June was just the fourth 500-plus-run victory in test cricket history – with the other three occurring between 1911 and 1934.
The hosts, however, will be without a number of established stars for the encounters in Sylhet and Mirpur.
Veteran allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, top-order batter Litton Das, and pace bowling spearhead Taskin Ahmed are all missing from the home squad for the two tests as the Black Caps seek their first test win in
What: First test, New Zealand v Bangladesh Where, when: Sylhet International Cricket Stadium’; today to December 2, 4.30pm daily (NZ time)
Coverage: Live on ThreeNow, live updates on Stuff
Bangladesh in 15 years.
New Zealand haven’t played a test in Bangladesh since 2013, when the two sides shared a 0-0 drawn series, and were on the wrong end of a shock result on home soil at the start of 2022.
At Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval, the Black Caps were stunned by eight wickets, giving the visitors their first test triumph in New Zealand – before the hosts levelled the series with a win by an innings and 117 runs in Christchurch.
“They played well in our conditions, and there’ll be a number of those guys that were a part of that who we’ll be playing against here,” said New Zealand skipper Tim Southee yesterday.
“It always hurts when you lose.” Shakib and Taskin are out injured while Litton is on paternity leave, meaning New Zealand will be favoured to open the series with a win.
Home team coach Chandika Hathurusinghe admitted that Bangladesh needed to ‘‘move on’’ from the senior players.
‘‘It’s challenging to lose that much experience from any team, especially for Bangladesh,’’ Hathurusinghe said. ‘‘Those guys have been part of the Bangladesh team in every format for more than 15 years. Some of them for 10 years. It is, however, something to look forward to, to see what the youngsters can do.
‘‘I think it’s time that we need to move on from some of the players that have played for a long time. They are not going to be there forever.”
Southee and stand-in head coach Luke Ronchi are expecting spin to be a key factor in the series, meaning the Black Caps will likely play just two seamers, along with left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel and leggie Ish Sodhi, with either Rachin Ravindra or Glenn Phillips acting as the third spin option.
The hosts will rely heavily on Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who have a combined 328 test wickets, of which 228 have come at home.*