About the Match
The first test showcased everything we love about Test Cricket. The game is never over until the last ball has been bowled and even though Bangladesh fought brilliantly for the first four days, one poor day was enough for them to lose the test. New Zealand, on the other hand, will be relieved to have won that match by the skin of their teeth. Will the second test throw up a different result?
2nd Test Preview
There is absolutely no doubt that New Zealand will not be underestimating their opponents anymore. It required a herculean effort with the bat and ball for New Zealand to keep their perfect win record against Bangladesh at home intact.
The second test being played at Christchurch should hopefully provide conditions more suited to the home team. The last test played here in November 2016 was between Pakistan and New Zealand. The highest team total in the match was 200 and New Zealand eventually won the match by 8 wickets with plenty of time to spare.
A similar sort of surface will be expected in this match.
The New Zealand bowling attack would have been brought down a notch though after conceding 595 in the first innings of the first test. Neil Wagner picked four wickets in the innings to be the highest wicket taker but he bowled 44 overs in the first innings alone. His match total of 6 wickets was the highest for any New Zealand bowler.
That Bangladesh was able to score at a run rate of 3.91 in the first innings will also be of concern to New Zealand since this single stat showcases the lack of control they had on the Bangladeshi batsmen.
Tim Southee looked out of sorts for most of the match after a decent beginning and New Zealand might be tempted to replace him with Matt Henry for this test.
The biggest positive that New Zealand would have taken from the last match was Kane Williamson’s batting. He played both his innings with intent and ended with a match total of 157 runs off only 145 deliveries.
At no point did he play any unconventional shots and this shows the dominance he exercised against the Bangladeshi bowlers. He, along with opener Jeet Raval would be our pick for the top-scorer in the second test as well.
Raval did not fare too well in the first test but his technique is very sound and would probably hold up on a pitch that promises to do a lot more for the bowlers this time around.
The last time New Zealand played here, de Grandhomme took six wickets in the first innings and added another to his match tally in the second. His military medium swing bowling could be very effective once again here. Pick him or the much improved Boult as the bowler to take most wickets in this test match.
To have left the first test with a draw and a dominant batting performance would have been a huge win for Bangladesh. Unfortunately, they now hold the record for the highest first innings total in Test Match history to end up on the losing side.
The fact that the previous record was set in a timeless test and was considered to be one of the few records that could never be threatened just adds insult to injury.
Bangladesh is also going to go into this test match without their Captain and centurion from the first match, Mushfiqur Rahim, who has been ruled out due to injury. Considering it was Rahim’s partnership with Shakib Al Hassan that set Bangladesh on their way in the first test, this blow might be difficult to recover from.
The other Bangladeshi batsmen might be ruing the fact that they missed out on a belter because they are in for a much tougher test. Unlike Wellington, where the pitch seems to settle down after a menacing first session, the conditions at Christchurch are expected to be tough for the entire duration of the match.
Tamim Iqbal will hope to build on the first match batting gains where he got a start in both innings. He is also one of the senior most players in the side and will need to shoulder more responsibility. Mominul Haque showed why he is Bangladesh’s test batting lynchpin through sheer consistency.
He is our pick for the top scorer in this match from the Bangladesh side.
Mahmudullah’s woes continued on this tour and we don’t think Christchurch will be the pace where he finds his touch. Shakib Al Hassan played a blinder to score a double-century in the first innings and then a daft shot to throw away his wicket at a crucial time in the second.
He has also received a lot of criticism from all quarters and it will be interesting to see if he changes his approach this time around. Our personal feeling is that he will continue to play aggressively and try to prove his detractors wrong.
Shakib is known to produce a big inning when he is under pressure and Bangladesh will be hoping for some angry runs from their best ever cricketer.
The real let down for Bangladesh is their bowling. The fast bowlers are just too inexperienced to make the most of what New Zealand conditions have to offer. None of them have enough knowledge of bowling long spells in test matches or working the batsmen over when the pitch flattens out.
Their only hope is that one of the fast bowlers will have an excellent day and rip out the New Zealand batting lineup in a hurry. Maybe Taskin Ahmed could have that wonderful day. Back Taskin, if you must, to take the most wickets for Bangladesh.
New Zealand would have settled for nothing less than a 2-0 victory before the start of the test series and their victory in the first test has put them in the perfect position to do so. We have a feeling that this match will be a much easier victory for New Zealand than the last one was. Back New Zealand To Win.
Winner: New Zealand, 1.25 @ Bet on New Zealand now