Bangladesh will face New Zealand in the 1st Test of the two-match away series beginning at 4 am (Bangladesh time) at Basin Reserve, Wellington on Thursday.
Bangladesh will go for the away Test series after around two years and three months break. It played the last away series involving two-Test against West Indies in September 2014.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said, “I am recovering quite well but I wouldn’t say I am 100% fit, because the hamstring injury often has a recurrence. But so far, I am fit for the Test match.”
Having huge responsibility as an opener, Tamim Iqbal will have to counter Tim Southee, who was adjudged the Player of the Match in New Zealand’s previous Test against Pakistan, having taken eight wickets, including a six-for, in the 138-run win.
Tamim’s 104 against England in October was one of his best Test knocks, and he is due for a big innings in New Zealand having scored only one fifty in the limited-overs matches on this tour.
Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah Riyad will have to show patience in dealing with balls outside the off stump.
Sabbir Rahman who made his Test debut against England in October 2016 and played unbeaten innings of 64 runs on his debut at home, will go for a challenge to take his first overseas Test as number 7 batsman for Bangladesh.
The Tigers’ last played Test match against giant England in October 2016 and secured the historic maiden victory of 108-runs that also helped draw the two-match series where Mehedi Hasan Miraz made international debut to dazzle capturing 19 wickets.
The record showed that since November 2000, Bangladesh — the 9th slot holders in the ICC Test rankings — played so far 95 Test matches where they secured eight wins, managed 15 draws and lost in 72 games.
On the other hand, New Zealand — the 6th placed holders in the ICC Test rankings — played out a surprising amount in this format compare to Bangladesh. They played 417 Tests since 1930 and secured 87 wins, 161 draws while losses in 169 occasions.
In their last 11 Test outings since 2001, Bangladesh drawn thrice — all at home ground — while lost in eight occasions.
New Zealand will find it easier to wrap up Bangladesh given the hosts’ bowling strength. Trent Boult, who had missed the second Test against Pakistan, last year due to a knee injury, is set to return to the side, completing one of the world’s most effective bowling pairs with Tim Southee.
Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme are a more-than-capable second string and, if New Zealand want to force home the point, including Matt Henry may be an option. It is likely, however, that Mitchell Santner will be retained to balance the bowling line-up.
Ross Taylor has 16 Test centuries. One more hundred will help him draw level with Martin Crowe for the record of most Test centuries by a New Zealand batsman.
Bangladesh will make at least one change to their eleven with Shuvagata Hom out of the Test squad. Taskin Ahmed is expected to make his debut, while Mehedi Hasan Miraz could be picked up ahead of Taijul Islam to make room for Rubel Hossain. Subashis
Roy has also made a case for himself and could be picked up ahead of Kamrul Islam Rabbi.
There could only be one change in the New Zealand line-up with a fit Trent Boult replacing Matt Henry. Given their settled batting line-up, it seems Dean Brownlie would have to wait for his turn.
Bangladesh eleven (probable): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan/Soumya Sarkar, Rubel Hossain/Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Taskin Ahmed and Subashis Roy.
New Zealand eleven(probable): Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
Sports Desk (UNB)