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Match Preview – New Zealand vs Bangladesh, Bangladesh in New Zealand 2021/22, 1st Test


Preview

The visitors don’t have Shakib and Tamim; the hosts are missing Williamson, but have been boosted by the return of Boult and Conway

Big picture

New Zealand vs Bangladesh contests have been complete mismatches, wherever they have been played. Bangladesh have lost each of their away matches against New Zealand, irrespective of the format, while New Zealand haven’t been great visitors to Bangladesh either. The first Test of the latest series, at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, starting New Year’s Day in 2022, is also likely to be a one-sided contest, with seaming and swinging conditions set to favour the home team in a big way.

New Zealand, however, are coming into the Test series on the back of a 1-0 series reversal in India. They managed to draw the first Test but were upended in the second despite Ajaz Patel’s Perfect Ten. And against Bangladesh at home, they will again be without regular captain Kane Williamson, who is nursing an elbow injury, although Devon Conway’s return to the starting XI after injury will be a welcome addition to the batting line-up.

Tom Latham will be leading New Zealand in their first home Tests since winning the World Test Championship. He will have his entire frontline pace attack available, including Trent Boult, who skipped the India Tests because of bubble fatigue, and is also nearing 300 Test wickets. A successful start against Bangladesh can set the tone for the upcoming home summer for New Zealand, when they also face South Africa in two WTC Tests in February.
But it is entirely a different reality for Bangladesh. A struggling side, they have arrived in New Zealand following a dismal series against Pakistan at home. Losing by an innings in the second Test in Dhaka, where two-and-a-half days were lost to rain, showed how poorly prepared they were to take on quality opposition. However, they had a few bright spots in the practice match against New Zealand XI earlier this week, though the quality of opposition will be very different come the first Test.

They will, however, be without Shakib Al Hasan, who has opted for a break, and Tamim Iqbal, who is recovering from a double thumb fracture. Mahmudullah, too, has retired from the format, which has left captain Mominul Haque and veteran Mushfiqur Rahim with a lot of burden to shoulder.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches; most recent first)

New Zealand LDWWD
Bangladesh LLWLD

In the spotlight

Devon Conway will be playing his first Test since he broke his finger punching his bat during the T20 World Cup. But Conway got a duck in the tour match against Bangladesh in his first competitive appearance since November. This will also be Conway’s first Test at home after the impressive start to his Test career.

Taskin Ahmed took 13 wickets in his three Test appearances in 2021, a number which could have easily been higher had the Bangladesh fielders held their catches. Four out of the 11 catches dropped off his bowling across all formats came in Tests.

Team news

Will Young will open with captain Tom Latham, with the returning Conway set to come in at No. 3 in Williamson’s absence. Barring any last-minute changes, New Zealand are likely to go into the Test without Matt Henry and Rachin Ravindra.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Tom Latham (capt), 2 Will Young, 3 Devon Conway, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult

Bangladesh are likely to stick with Shadman Islam despite his poor recent form, including a duck in the practice match. There might be a toss-up between Ebadot Hossain and Shoriful Islam for the third seamer’s role.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Shadman Islam, 2 Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mominul Haque (capt), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Liton Das (wk), 7 Yasir Ali, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Abu Jayed, 11 Ebadot Hossain/Shoriful Islam

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is expected to be slightly on the greener side; but like most New Zealand tracks, may ease up as the match progresses. Also, the toss may not matter, as both previous Tests here were won by the side losing the toss. Weather is likely to be mostly dry during the Test.

Stats and trivia

Quotes

“We’ve been having some really good success in these conditions but also away in these recent years. It’s more about [continuing] what this group’s been doing and have my own spin on things.”
New Zealand stand-in captain Tom Latham wants to do things his way

“It is not ideal not having one or two of our bigger players here. We have young players who haven’t played Tests in New Zealand, so they won’t be scarred by past performances. We have to look at it as a positive.”
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo places his trust on the youngsters

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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