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The Preview by Mohammad Isam
October 20, 2013
Match factsOctober 21-25, 2013
Big pictureGiven their reputation and track record preceding this series, the drawn first Test could be seen as a positive result for Bangladesh and a negative one for New Zealand. The two sides, however, seemed satisfied. Bangladesh appeared disappointed at not achieving a result, but chasing a total over 200 on the final day was going to be difficult. New Zealand, on the other hand, felt they got a just outcome.
The second and final Test of the series will offer a fascinating duel, given the desperation from both sides to win it. Bangladesh have a chance to claim their first Test win against New Zealand, and win the series, provided they clear a few barriers.
The home side did well in the first Test without big contributions from Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. In fact, Tamim struggled in the second innings, scoring 40-odd, while Shakib looked desperate to have a fifty under his belt. This hunger for runs among senior players before an important Test is a good sign for Bangladesh.
The performances of Sohag Gazi and Mominul Haque have been encouraging, particularly because both players were not certain picks before the series. Now they will need more performances to affirm the faith shown in them. Anamul Haque, Rubel Hossain and Robiul Islam will also look to come good and build on their records in the past year.
New Zealand have good pace bowlers in the side but their spinners nearly undermined the efforts of the rest of the attack. Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin bowled short and wide, and legspinner Ish Sodhi's honest effort on debut did not seem to threaten the Bangladesh batsmen.
Their batting is stronger. In Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, New Zealand have the batsmen to change the course of the game, although McCullum is yet to find form. Williamson made 114 and 74 in the Chittagong Test, and looked comfortable grinding down the Bangladesh bowlers, while Taylor showed signs of form during his stays at the crease.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
Watch out forThe first Test belonged to Sohag Gazi. He scored a maiden Test century with confidence, and then took six wickets in the second innings, including a hat-trick. The rare nature of his record will follow him from now on every time he comes in to bowl and bat.
Hamish Rutherford's starts in the first Test said much about his ability as an opening batsman. He gave it away in the first innings, while in the second he misread a straight delivery. He is an attractive player off the front foot, but has to last longer than an hour to make big runs on these pitches.
Team newsNew Zealand could tweak their bowling attack, leaving out Martin for Neil Wagner or even Mark Gillespie. Corey Anderson did not have the most memorable debut Test - he bowled well but his batting returns were poor. However, it's likely he may keep his place ahead of Dean Brownlie. Barring any last-minute injuries, the rest of the side is likely to remain unchanged.
New Zealand (likely): 1 Peter Fulton, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Dean Brownlie/Corey Anderson, 6 Brendon McCullum (capt), 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Ish Sodhi, 11 Bruce Martin/Neil Wagner/Mark Gillespie
Bangladesh are unlikely to change the squad that drew only its second Test against New Zealand, unless there are injury concerns. Robiul Islam struggled to bowl long spells in Chittagong, and his fitness remains a worry. Anamul Haque is the only batsman in Bangladesh's top seven not to have made a score, so this match will be important for him.However, there were some murmurs of a third seamer being given a go in place of Abdur Razzak. Mushfiqur Rahim said the team will stick to the seven batsmen-four bowlers composition and the playing XI would only be finalised on the morning of the match.
Bangladesh (likely): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Anamul Haque, 3 Marshall Ayub, 4 Mominul Haque, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Robiul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Stats and trivia
Pitch and conditionsThe Mirpur wicket will be slow, but will offer much to batsmen and spinners. The fast bowlers will struggle, although reverse swing is a possibility given the outfield conditions. There was heavy rain on Sunday morning and forecasts suggest more showers over the next week.
Quotes"Our target will be to hold on to the consistency that we showed in the last game. My personal goal would be to take five wickets." Bangladesh offspinner Sohag Gazi speaks about the collective and individual plans for the second Test
"We want to win the game rather than just draw it."
New Zealand opener Peter Fulton
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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