Wisden 2008

New Zealand v Bangladesh 2007-08

Don Cameron

Test matches (2): New Zealand 2, Bangladesh 0
One-day internationals (3): New Zealand 3, Bangladesh 0

However much New Zealanders, whose team struggled for 26 years before winning their first Test, might sympathise with Bangladesh's unequal battle to win their second, they were utterly disappointed at the one-sided and grimly low-key nature of the two Tests in January 2008. The First, on a lovely new ground at Dunedin, expired in the eighth of the scheduled 15 sessions; the Second, on Wellington's more expansive Basin Reserve, was completed in the seventh. New Zealand won both, to extend their Test record against Bangladesh to six out of six, with five innings victories.

Bangladesh's main problem was surviving for long enough while batting. In only one of their four innings in this series did they last for more than 50 overs, and only three half-centuries were recorded, two by 18-year-old Tamim Iqbal and one by his opening partner Junaid Siddique, a veteran of 20. Together the two left-handed debutants put on 161, Bangladesh's sole fifty partnership of the series. Only one other batsman - Shakib Al Hasan in his unbeaten 41 in the Second Test - survived as long as two hours.

The bowling was hardly penetrative: apart from occasional energetic bursts from Shahadat Hossain and Mashrafe bin Mortaza, and the new left-armer Sajidul Islam, the Bangladesh bowlers were ineffective on pitches that were generally well behaved. The spinners made little impression, and it was probably a mistake to leave Mohammad Rafique, the seasoned slow leftarmer, at home. To make matters worse, the catching and fielding, never imposing at any stage, became totally erratic on the second morning of the Second Test, when New Zealand, struggling for respectability, were let off the hook by five dropped chances.

Only on the second afternoon of the First Test, after New Zealand had answered Bangladesh's limp 137 with 357, did the touring batsmen look the part. Tamim and Junaid started the second innings with an entrancing display of classical strokes, their timing perfect as the ball was distributed around the short boundaries. They were 148 without loss, the deficit cut to 72, by stumps on the second day. Sadly, this was the only glimpse of glory. Both were out quickly next morning, and by that afternoon New Zealand had knocked off their paltry target.

New Zealand were encouraged by the return of opener Matthew Bell, discarded six years previously. He scored a century at Dunedin, which was followed up by a bludgeoning 117 from Jacob Oram. However, the indifferent form of Craig Cumming at the top of the order, and Mathew Sinclair at No. 5, meant that New Zealand still had not resolved all their batting problems, with three home Tests against England less than two months away.

With Shane Bond injured - and his eligibility in doubt anyway after he signed for the breakaway Indian Cricket League - Chris Martin took 13 wickets at 16.92. Twelve months previously, Martin was a fringe selection, but Bond's absence allowed him to show he could lead the attack. He also reached double figures with the bat for the first time, in his 36th Test. Bangladesh fared little better in the one-dayers which preceded the Tests, losing the first two comfortably before being completely blown away in the third - New Zealand needed only six overs to reach a puny target of 94.

This was another big disappointment, after Bangladesh's improved showing in the World Cup and a morale-boosting victory over a strong New Zealand Cricket XI in a charity Twenty20 game immediately before the one-day series proper. But only briefly, when Tamim and Mohammad Ashraful got going in the first match at Auckland, did they threaten New Zealand, for whom Vettori did well in his first home outing as the regular captain.

Match reports for

1st Test: New Zealand v Bangladesh at Dunedin, Jan 4-6, 2008
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: New Zealand v Bangladesh at Wellington, Jan 12-14, 2008
Report | Scorecard

Match reports for

1st ODI: New Zealand v Bangladesh at Auckland, Dec 26, 2007
Report | Scorecard

2nd ODI: New Zealand v Bangladesh at Napier, Dec 28, 2007
Report | Scorecard

3rd ODI: New Zealand v Bangladesh at Queenstown, Dec 31, 2007
Report | Scorecard

© Wisden Almanack