Another tough task await for Tigers

DHAKA, Feb 26, 2019 : After a disappointing ODI series, Bangladesh desperately looking to fight back in the Test series when they faced hosts New Zealand in the first Test of the three-match series scheduled to begin on Thursday (February 28) at Hamilton.

The match kicks off at 4 am (BST).

But, the Tigers will have to face another tough task away from home in bouncing conditions where the batsmen will be tested again of their ability. Bangladesh has lost all seven Test matches they played in New Zealand.

But, it will mostly depend on Tigers batsmen as can they handle New Zealand’s pressure? Their 3-0 loss in the ODI series has certainly come as a massive blow from them, and injuries also make the situation adverse , especially in the batting line-up.

Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, whomissed the entire ODI series against New Zealand, is still recovering from his finger injury and it’s likely that dependable batsman Mushfiqur Rahim will also be sidelined because of injuries to his ribcage and finger.

A batting side that depends largely on four senior batsmen – Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah the others – having the unit halved isn’t ideal, especially in a country where Bangladesh have mostly struggled in their tour record.

So far on this tour, the new ball, which usually grows in potency when Trent Boult and Tim Southee have it in their hands, has tormented the visitors.

Boult took six wickets in three consistently good performances in the ODIs, while Southee grabbed six-wicket haul in the third game, the only one he played.

They will lead the Test attack too, with Neil Wagner and Matt Henry around to help. The South paw opener Tamim, has had his worst ODI series (minimum three innings) in the last seven years. Within five days of a superb 141 in the Bangladesh Premier League final in Dhaka, Boult had him caught behind with a late away-swinger in Napier before Henry burst one through his forward prod in the second game.

His choice of shot in the third game, charging Southee in the second ball of the innings, was a failed, and faulty, approach to disturb the bowler’s length.

Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar too didn’t contribute much at the top, and found annoying ways and times to get out. Liton didn’t look out of form but his footwork in the first game wasn’t up to the mark and he didn’t read the situation well in the second game either.

Sarkar, meanwhile, was extravagant as he threw away two good starts, especially so in the first game when his continued presence at the crease might have put the home side under some pressure.

A great example is Bangladesh’s batting in the Wellington Test in 2017, when Tamim and Mominul Haque did much of the hard work on a blustery opening day. Shakib and Mushfiqur then built on the foundation, hitting 217 and 159 respectively.

On a previous occasion in Hamilton, during the 2015 World Cup, Tamim had played out a probing opening spell from Boult and Southee, which laid the platform for Mahmudullah’s century and a big score from Bangladesh.

Squads:

Bangladesh squad – Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed, Khaled Ahmed, Nayeem Hasan, Ebadat Hossain and Soumya Sarkar.

New Zealand -Kane Williamson(captain), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Todd Astle, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Will Young.