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October 7, 2010
Match FactsFriday, October 8, Mirpur
The Big Picture
While the cricketing world had its eyes firmly focused on the riveting action from Mohali, Bangladesh were quietly adding a chapter to their own history in overcast Mirpur. Their victory against New Zealand in the first ODI was their 13th against top opposition. Seven of those wins have come in the last two years and, though the list includes three wins against a depleted-by-dispute West Indies, it indicates a progressive improvement in Bangladesh's consistency.
While they are capable of the occasional flash of brilliance, Bangladesh's problem has been their inability to build on the winning momentum. Barring those three games in the West Indies, they have never managed to string two upsets on the trot. The euphoria of their other famous win this year, against England in Bristol, quickly evaporated when they were squarely thumped in the following game. Can Bangladesh buck that trend and hold on to their early lead in this series?
Heavy rain is forecast over the next few days in Bangladesh, so much so that the National League matches scheduled to start on Sunday have been rescheduled. Even though Bangladesh haven't managed to string together two wins on the trot against strong opposition, the weather could help them enter the third match of the series with a 1-0 lead.
This is not the first time New Zealand have started a bilateral series in Bangladesh with defeat. In 2008-09, they managed to reverse the scoreline with convincing wins in the two remaining games. This series, being a five-match affair, gives them even more elbow room, but that does not mean Daniel Vettori will take Tuesday's defeat lightly. Despite his singling out Shakib Al Hasan as a threat, New Zealand seemed without a plan against Bangladesh's talisman allrounder in both departments. Vettori has said the tour of the subcontinent will give his side an advantage when the World Cup comes, but another defeat here will only create self-doubt ahead of tougher tests in India.
Form guide(five latest completed matches, starting with most recent)
Watch out for...
Despite their middle order's stumble against spin, New Zealand were in the game as long as Ross Taylor was at the crease. Bangladesh did well to deny him boundaries, and his dismissal, going for his favourite slog-sweep, tilted the balance in the hosts' favour. Taylor is unlikely to perish twice on the trot to his pet shot, but can he find a way past the spinners' stranglehold to make it productive?
Shahriar Nafees returned to the ODI side after over two years, but his touch and timing at the top of the order suggested he had never been away. With 1892 runs in 61 ODIs, Nafees is sixth in the list of highest run-scorers for Bangladesh, but of all their batsmen to have scored over 1000 runs, he has the highest average. Bangladesh can do with stability at the top, and Nafees, along with the currently-injured Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, can give them a formidable top three.
Bangladesh will be without their first-choice seamers, Mashrafe Mortaza and Nazmul Hussain, who picked injuries during the first match. The squad is, however, not short of fast-bowling options. Left-arm seamer Syed Rasel will expect to make the cut, while the remaining spot could be a toss-up between Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain / Shafiul Islam, 11 Syed Rasel
Grant Elliott, BJ Watling and Shanan Stewart contributed two runs between them, in a passage of play that cost New Zealand the opening game. Kane Williamson should expect a call-up, but he is coming off a forgettable streak himself. Daryl Tuffey could be in line to replace Andy McKay whose nine overs went for 51 in the opening game.
New Zealand (possible): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Grant Elliott, 5, 6 Kane Williamson / BJ Watling / Shannan Stewart, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Daryl Tuffey
Stats and trivia
"We had a reasonable start and to restrict them to less than 230 was a good effort. We expected to win, but we let ourselves down in the second half of our batting effort. "
Daniel Vettori knows where it all went wrong
Billboards are calling the series England's Indian Summer, but it is India who are looking for that period of warmth, redemption after the last whitewash, for they have seen how bleak the winter that can follow is
Accommodation for a great player like Jacques Kallis should be made with careful consideration and South Africa cannot get carried away with sentiment
The present Indian bowling line-up will tackle its first five-Test series without the proven guidance of Zaheer Khan, their bowling captain. India had unravelled without him in 2011. Will they do better this time around?
From two embattled captains to the challenge for India's openers against the new ball, ESPNcricinfo picks five contests that could determine the series
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches
Shakib Al Hasan trained with his team-mates as the BCB directors held their meeting in Mirpur, unaware of the massive punishment he was about to be hit with