New Zealand in Bangladesh 2013-14 October 20, 2013

'Both teams are closely matched' - McCullum

New Zealand will be eager to register their first Test win in 2013, but they are not expecting one to be served on a platter by Bangladesh. Captain Brendon McCullum said he expects a tough fight in the second Test in Dhaka, and acknowledges that they are expected to win the series given the track record and difference in rankings between the two sides.

New Zealand have won eight out of the last ten Tests against Bangladesh, but the tide has started to turn since 2008. Bangladesh beat them in an ODI for the first time that year and pushed them a long way in the first Test, a few days later, before Daniel Vettori bailed them out. Bangladesh then surprised New Zealand with a 4-0 ODI series win in 2010 at home.

"We have a decent amount of respect for Bangladesh," McCullum said. "They are a tough opposition and we saw that in the last match. It was a very good match with both teams showing their skills and didn't, at any stage, relent.

"We said at the outset that we should be winning the series, and the expectation is on us to do so, and that hasn't changed. It didn't surprise me how close the last game went. Both teams are, in these conditions, closely matched. We have a real fight on our hands to get the result that we want."

New Zealand are likely to add Neil Wagner in place of one of the spinners to strengthen their pace attack. "We have a number of options which is good from the point of view of the squad," McCullum said. "We have to make sure we are completely comfortable with the way we go forward from here. It is something we need to look out and work out the balance of our team. If we do include the extra seamer it will be in place of one of the spinners."

He claimed that the wicket in Mirpur should be similar to that in Chittagong, where the first Test was played. Judging by the Dhaka Premier League matches this season, there should be more carry in the Mirpur wicket than in Chittagong, but it will remain a tough surface to get wickets for the bowlers.

"It should be similar to Chittagong where there is not much pace and bounce," McCullum said. "I think that's the challenge of playing in Bangladesh. It is a myth that it spins in Bangladesh. I think Sri Lanka and India offer a lot more for the spinners. In Bangladesh it tends to skid and you have seen it in the modes of dismissal in the last game. Their spinners bowled very well and they will ask us a lot of questions in the next five days."

New Zealand are unlikely to change their batting approach, which lets the top order take up a considerable amount of time before someone like McCullum comes in at No. 5. "I don't think they [top order] need to bat at a higher tempo," he said. "They did a good job. We have talked about batting four sessions in the first innings and around three in the second innings. I thought our batting was faultless in the first Test."

The bottom line will be how the New Zealand batsmen withstand another relentless innings of spin bowling. Sohag Gazi's second-innings performance served as a warning to the visitors who would be wary of the offspinner.

"Everyone will have their own plans against him," McCullum said. "He bowled exceptionally well in the last Test. When we looked to dictate terms, he got the wickets.

"Prior to that, I thought we played him pretty well. He had a very good game and thoroughly deserves the accolade that has followed. If we have to do well, he is one of the guys we have to overcome."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    @ rocketman. Pak has won tests in Aus, but never a series.

  • Subterraneo on October 21, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    It is not a matter of bouncy pitch vs spinning pitch. It is more of a matter of batting-friendly and bowling-friendly pitch. In batting friendly pitches, it is very difficult to take 40 wickets except by exceptional bowling, which often leads to predictable draws. In bowling-friendly pitches, as in the NZ-IND 2002 Tests, results are very much more likely in less than five days, although batsmen may find it hard to score. A compromise between the two ends, as in the pitches in Australia and England, are more likely to produce to exciting matches, maybe unpredictable until the 5th day.

  • roket on October 21, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    India produced flat roads, or spinning tracks at home for decades to draw or win against other teams. They always get hammered abroad. Pakistan has produced dead tracks for ages, even though they have had quality pace bowlers throughout their history. With all the world class pace bowlers PAK had, they have yet to win a test in Australia in more than 60 years of playing them. SL produced pitches that got them 900+ runs in one innigs! Everyone plays to their strength, that is why is called "home field" advantage. One can easily argue the pitches in England, Australia and SA are detrimental to test cricket, as those teams fare poorly against quality spin attack in the subcontinent, because they have no idea how to tackle spin. Why is a flat or spinning track be detrimental to test cricket, where as a fast bouncy pitch is ideal? Only a fan of non-subcontinental team would try to make an argument out of it.

  • Freeza on October 20, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    Looks like we might have another draw on our hands if the pitch is anything like in Chittagong. This is why teams like Bangladesh perform so poorly overseas, they produce roads at home and when they play away if there is the slightest bit of pace or bounce in the pitch they have no idea, these pitches in Bangladesh are detrimental to test cricket.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Its good to see that we r not talking about Sakib only when discussing the Tiger's prospects. Mominul can take any bowling side apart - better than Tamim or Sakib; Ghazi can seriously trouble the batsmen and take wickets aplenty. Nasir will give 50 runs at least, maybe more if he wants to; Mushy will score a quickfire 50 or more. This is a team with a lot of depth now. No wonder MacCallum said both teams are evenly poised. Ranking doesn't mean much these days. Look at how the highly regarded Pakistan team lost to Zimbabwe and then the World's # 1 SA lost to Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Good luck McCullum, I hope you guys put up a good fight vs our team ! :)