Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st Test, Chittagong October 16, 2008

New Zealand confident despite spinning track

Cricinfo staff

Match facts

October 17-21 Start time 9.30am (0330 GMT)

Ross Taylor is a key man in New Zealand's top order © AFP

Big Picture

Bangladesh's Test performances against New Zealand so far make sorry reading: five of the six matches have ended in innings defeats, and they barely made New Zealand bat twice in the other game. Add the loss of several key Bangladesh players to the ICL, and the chronic inability of the host batsmen to post substantial scores, and this series should be an easy warm-up for New Zealand ahead of their more taxing trip to Australia later this year.

However, Bangladesh have some reasons for optimism. First, their incisive new-ball bowling, which put the visitors on the back foot in each of the three one-dayers last week. Also, the New Zealand top order is inexperienced - none of their expected top four has played a Test in Asia; finally, Bangladesh's chief nemesis in previous series, Daniel Vettori, was off colour during the ODIs.

Form guide

Bangladesh LLLLL
New Zealand LLDLL

Watch out for

Ross Taylor: In a fledgling career, he has already shown glimpses of developing into a top-class batsman, most memorably with a flamboyant century at Old Trafford earlier this year. With the pitch likely to take turn, and Bangladesh's penchant for packing their side with spinners, the ease with which he plays slow bowlers makes him crucial to New Zealand's cause.

Tamim Iqbal: New Zealand are already aware of his abilities, after he scrapped his way to a pair of half-centuries on his debut in Dunedin last January. With Shakib Al Hasan out of form and Alok Kapali and Shariar Nafees in the ICL, a lot of responsibility rests on Tamim's shoulders.

Team news

With the pitch expected to be spinner-friendly New Zealand have gone in with two slow bowlers, Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel. Kyle Mills and Iain O'Brien will share the new-ball duties, meaning Tim Southee will miss out. Jesse Ryder is in line for his debut at No. 3.

New Zealand 1 Aaron Redmond, 2 Jamie How, 3 Jesse Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (wk), 6 Daniel Flynn, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 9 Iain O'Brien, 11 Jeetan Patel.

After some impressive showings in the one-dayers, allrounder Naeem Islam is set to make his Test debut while batsman Rajin Saleh's experience has won him a spot in the middle order.

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Rajin Saleh, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Naeem Islam, 6 Mehrab Hossain jnr, 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Shakib Al Hasan, 9 Mashrafe Moratza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Shahadat Hossain.

Pitch and conditions

The cracks on the surface have already prompted the New Zealand coach John Bracewell to say that he hopes the pitch will play better than it looks or else "we could be in for a fairly short Test". New Zealand could also struggle with the heat - the forecast is for temperatures to be in the mid-thirties over the next week - and there could be some rain during the latter stages of the Test.

Stats and trivia

  • Daniel Vettori has taken 32 wickets against Bangladesh, more than twice as many as any other bowler has in New Zealand-Bangladesh Tests.
  • Daniel Vettori, Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Mortaza remain the only survivors from the first-ever series between the two sides in 2001-02.
  • Quotes

    "We look forward to the Test series and realise that batsmen will have to put up a good fight against quality New Zealand bowling."
    Mohammad Ashraful wants his batsmen to rise to the challenge

    "We are playing at 50% of our abilities and if we play to our full potential then we should win."
    Daniel Vettori doesn't think there will be any upsets during the series