Bangladesh eye historic series win against New Zealand

Bangladesh won the first Test in Sylhet by 150 runs to close in on a landmark series victory


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Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam. — AFP
Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam. — AFP

Published: Tue 5 Dec 2023, 9:00 PM

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha wants his players to guard against complacency as they try to secure a first series win against New Zealand in the second and final Test.

Bangladesh won the first Test in Sylhet by 150 runs to close in on a landmark series victory. The only top-level teams that Bangladesh have ever beaten in a two-match Test series are Zimbabwe and West Indies.

“I can’t see complacency in the team. If I see any action of complacency, I will have one to one chat,” Hathurusingha said ahead of Wednesday's opening day.

“We had a good chat inside the dressing room yesterday. Strong and experienced leaders like Mushy (Mushfiqur Rahim) and Mominul (Haque) spoke very emotionally. They spoke in Bengali. I can see there’s no tall poppies in the dressing room.”

The Sylhet Test victory was only Bangladesh’s second against New Zealand in 18 meetings, and it came courtesy of captain Najmul Hossain Shanto’s second-innings century.

In doing so, Shanto became the first Bangladeshi cricketer to hit a century on his debut as captain.

“Captaincy and leadership are two things," Hathurusingha said. "(Shanto's) captaincy was excellent. He was tactically on the mark. He was step ahead of the game most of the time. Very impressive field placings as well. Sometimes unorthodox, but very effective.

“(His) leadership was excellent. He led from the front with his performance. He was commanding respect, and demanding the standard. I think he has a long future ahead.”

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, who took 10-184 in the first Test, will be a Bangladesh’s most crucial weapon in Mirpur, which traditionally has a slow wicket with uneven bounce.

“He goes under the radar because he plays second fiddle to Shakib (Al Hasan) in most of the games," Hathurusingha said of Islam.

"His record is phenomenal. He has nearly 200 wickets. He is very consistent.”

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee said the team's spinners need to show more consistency if they are to avoid a first series defeat against Bangladesh.

“We’re expecting obviously spin-friendly conditions, but we spoke about it after the last game about being more consistent for longer as a bowling group,” Southee said.

“And then, obviously, partnerships as a batting unit. We’ve had a great couple of days of training. So, we’re looking forward to getting into another Test match."

While Bangladesh's spinners claimed 18 wickets at an economic rate of 2.48, New Zealand's spinners took 14 wickets at a rate of 3.73 runs.

New Zealand’s front-line spinners Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi also had a limited impact in the match, and the team could include Rachin Ravindra and Mitchell Santner in the squad for the second Test.

“They’re (Ravindra and Santner) obviously capable spinners. But we went with what we thought was the best side to win that first Test match," Southee said.

"It’s just a tough one to try and get your 15 great players to fit into an 11. So, it’s about picking a side that you think is going to do the job for the five days ahead of you.”


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