Oram absence puts pressure on New Zealand
Match factsOctober 25-29 Start time 9.00am (0330 GMT)
Big PictureThe Chittagong Test was among the most hard-fought victories for New Zealand, a 'great character win' as coach John Bracewell put it. When Bangladesh lost 14 players to the ICL, including a few regulars in the national team, people feared a massive walkover for New Zealand in the two-Test and three-ODI series but there were more than a few surprises in store. On a slow turning track in Chittagong, New Zealand conceded a first-innings lead and were left chasing 317. Their captain, Daniel Vettori, almost single-handedly, steered them home by three wickets and broke many Bangladesh hearts. The highs of the victory were overshadowed by several holes in the batting performance and the news isn't good for New Zealand ahead of the second Test starting tomorrow in Mirpur, having lost Jacob Oram to a back injury.
Vettori admitted Oram's absence would be felt, but he was confident of a good show nevertheless. His team will have to gear up for another fight against a team which has shown the same self belief which carried them to the Super Eights in the World Cup last year. Bangladesh's batsmen were uncharacteristically defensive in Chittagong but that strategy worked in frustrating New Zealand. Their lower middle order, led by Shakib Al Hasan, put a price on their wickets and dragged the Test till the fifth day, a rarity for Bangladesh.
Form guide(Last five matches, most recent last)
Players to watch
Abdur Razzak: Shakib stood out for the hosts with his first-innings figures of 7-36 and a gritty 71 in the second, but Razzak was equally impressive with the ball and did most of the damage during the chase. His 3 for 93, from 50 nagging overs, included the wickets Vettori, Jamie How and Daniel Flynn. With all the attention turned towards the surprise package, Shakib, Razzak could sneak up on New Zealand again.
Daniel Vettori:New Zealand scraped through in the first Test by three wickets largely due to a Man-of-the-Match performance from Vettori with both bat and ball. He took nine wickets and scored two half-centuries: his 76 in the second innings played a crucial part in New Zealand's victory. After taking 20 wickets on his previous tour of Bangladesh, in 2004, Vettori remains the home side's biggest needle.
Team newsOram's departure has forced a change and his place has gone to Grant Elliott, the allrounder who made his debut against England in Napier earlier this year. Coincidentally, he replaced Oram in that Test too.
New Zealand 1 Aaron Redmond, 2 Jamie How, 3 Jesse Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (wk), 6 Daniel Flynn, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 9 Iain O'Brien, 11 Jeetan Patel.
Bangladesh have kept the same 12 from the first Test. Bangladesh's chief selector, Rafiqul Alam, said they would make a change to the XI which pushed New Zealand close in Chittagong "only if the situation demands".
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Rajin Saleh, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Naeem Islam, 6 Mehrab Hossain jnr, 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 9 Mashrafe Moratza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Shahadat Hossain
Pitch and conditionsThe head groundsman at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Shafiul Alam Belal, reckoned this would be a better batting pitch than the one at Chittagong. Vettori felt the pitch would be at its best for batting on the second day for but expected it to assist the spinners from the third onwards. Mohammad Ashraful felt it would flatten out as the game progressed.
Therefore, batting last may not be the best option. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been too kind. Intermittent rain forced practice sessions to be cancelled and isolated showers are predicted through the Test.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"Oram is probably our most important player because of the role he offers, being our third seamer and one of our best batsmen, so when he is out it makes it more difficult."
Vettori admits New Zealand will have to perform a notch higher now with Oram out of the equation
"Pressure is always there. Team-wise we have done well, both in the one-dayers and the Test, so we must keep the good work and put up our best effort."
Ashraful hopes for a repeat performance and perhaps a little more intensity