Bangladesh hoped against the hopes to make a good start to the New Year as they take on New Zealand in the opening game of the two-match Test series at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui tomorrow (Saturday), the first day of 2022.
The match starts at 4 am as per Bangladesh Standard Time (BST) and will be aired live on Gazi TV and T Sports. Bangladesh so far played 32 matches on New Zealand soil, including nine Tests since their elevation as a Test nation but failed to register a victory in any format of cricket. Chance is highly unlikely that they could change the fate, specially after a tumultuous 2021 in which the country's cricket plunged to new low.
The Tigers played seven Tests in 2021 and won just one against a low ranked Zimbabwe. They even tasted defeat at home against a West Indies side, severely depleted by the absence of their core group players.
Vulnerability in the longer version format of the cricket, coupled with their miserable record on New Zealand gave Bangladesh a little hope to win this Test series, BSS reports.
Moreover, they will be without the service of their two key players-Shakib Al Hasan who took rest from the series and opener Tamim Iqbal, out with finger injury. Nevertheless still Bangladesh dared to hope for a turnaround, specially because they have nothing to loss. It is however the second series of Bangladesh in the second edition of ICC World Test Champions (WTC). They had already conceded a 2-0 defeat to Pakistan in the first series at home in WTC.
Bangladesh just toured in New Zealand in March 2021 for a limited over series including three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals but lost all of those matches.
They last played Test matches in New Zealand tour in 2019, which was cut short due to a terrorist attack on a local mosque. For that incident, the final and third Test match was shelved but beforehand Bangladesh lost the first two Test matches by innings margin.
To acclimatize with New Zealand condition and cope with the Covid-19 factors, Bangladesh came here almost one month ago. The goal was to play at least two practice matches after a mandatory quarantine period. But that plan was ruined after Bangladesh's spin coach Rangana Herath was tested Covid-19 positive that forced the whole team to maintain extended quarantine period. Due to the extended quarantine period, Bangladesh had to be contented just one warm-up game, a two-day game against New Zealand XI.
They did fairly well with the bowlers, specially the pacers Abu Jayed Rahi and Taskin Ahmed showing their talent to make the most use of the New Zealand condition. Batters Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudul Hasan Joy hit fifties in practice game and Liton Das also scored runs. Overall the drawn-practice game went as per the script of Bangladesh. Now it is to see whether they could translate their practice game performance into the Test match.
New Zealand senior batter Ross Taylor announced his retirement after the Test series against Bangladesh, a thing which made New Zealand pumped up to give Taylor a fitting farewell despite the injury-forced absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson.
Bangladesh so far played 126 Tests, winning just 15 and lost a staggering number of 94 matches, of which 44 came by an innings margin. They however salvaged draw in 17 matches. Against New Zealand, Bangladesh played 15 matches and lost all but three, which ended in a draw.Squad
Mominul Haque (capt), Shadman Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Fazle Mahmud, Liton Das (wk), Nurul Hasan (wk), Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Shohidul Islam, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mohammad Naim