New-look New Zealand aim for stability
Match factsFebruary 15-19, 2010
Start time 11.00 (2200 GMT)
After winning the Twenty20 and sweeping the ODI series 3-0, the one-off Test at Seddon Park may not present New Zealand with the greatest of challenges, given Bangladesh's susceptibility in the longest format of the game. It does, however, provide them with the opportunity to test a new-look line-up ahead of a tougher series against Australia.
The Hamilton Test will be New Zealand's first since the retirements of fast bowlers Iain O'Brien and Shane Bond. They unearthed a promising talent in Andy McKay but his services, too, will not be on offer because of injury. The batting order, which has had to do without Jesse Ryder and Grant Elliott for months, has also been rearranged and has a raw top order. Tim McIntosh and BJ Watling will open with 31-year-old debutant Peter Ingram at No. 3. They have a total experience of 11 Tests between them, with McIntosh accounting for ten. The solidity for New Zealand, lies in the middle - Taylor, Guptill, Vettori and McCullum - and Bangladesh's best chance will be to put them under pressure early.
Bangladesh had a few bright moments during the ODI series: the form of Tamim Iqbal at the top, Mushfiqur Rahim's fighting spirit in the lower-middle order, and Imrul Kayes' maiden century. All these performances, though, came in separate matches and were solitary efforts while wickets had fallen or were falling at the other end. Bangladesh's batsmen failed to fire collectively and, worryingly, there were no contributions from Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful. Shakib, however, was impressive with the ball, troubling New Zealand's middle order with his left-arm variations. He could prove effective in the longer form, especially if the fast bowlers put the hosts under early pressure.
Form guide (last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand - DLWLL
Bangladesh - LLWWL
Watch out for
Shakib Al Hasan is for Bangladesh what Daniel Vettori is for New Zealand - captain, key batsman in the middle order, and premier bowler. Shakib was in poor form in the ODIs, scoring a total of eight runs in the first two games before making 36 in the third. His left-arm spin, however, was effective, resulting in five wickets at 21.60. He will have to raise his batting and maintain his bowling form if Bangladesh are going to push New Zealand.
Peter Ingram made a steady start to his ODI career - 122 runs in three innings - and has been slotted at the pivotal No. 3 spot in the Test line-up. Vettori said finding a solid top order has been a "perennial challenge" for New Zealand so the spot is there for the taking for Ingram.
Ingram batting at No. 3 means Martin Guptill will drop down to No. 5, with Vettori likely to bat at No. 6 ahead of McCullum. The late injury to McKay has forced New Zealand to rework their attack, which is now likely to comprise three fast bowlers and a second spinner in Jeetan Patel, ahead of back-up seamer Brent Arnel.
New Zealand: (probable) 1 Tim McIntosh, 2 BJ Watling, 3 Peter Ingram, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Martin Guptill, 6 Daniel Vettori (capt), 7 Brendon McCullum (wk), 8 Tim Southee, 9 Daryl Tuffey, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Chris Martin.
Bangladesh named their XI for the Test late on Sunday evening. They made one change from the team that took the field against India in Mirpur, replacing Raqibul Hasan with Aftab Ahmed in the middle order.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mohammad Ashraful, 5 Aftab Ahmed, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Shahadat Hossain, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Stats and trivia
- Vettori averages nearly 49 at Seddon Park - with the bat. He's scored 584 runs with two centuries and two fifties in 14 innings. With the ball, he's taken 26 wickets at an average of 34.33.
- Of the Bangladesh players, only Mohammad Ashraful has played a Test in Hamilton. He made 1 and 6 in 2001.
"I think we may have let ourselves down a wee bit in the last series [against Pakistan] by not finishing it off with a winning performance in Napier. But against Bangladesh I'm hoping we can at least get a good win to get some momentum leading into Australia as well."
George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo