Test cricket’s under-achievers New Zealand and Bangladesh will strive to resurrect their fortunes after a dismal run when they open a two-match series in Chittagong on Wednesday.
Bangladesh are tottering at the bottom of the Test table, lower than fellow wooden-spooners Zimbabwe, after losing eight of their last 11 matches.
New Zealand are ranked just above Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in eighth place, having suffered 10 defeats in their last 16 Tests.
Skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson will hope to build on New Zealand’s overwhelming unbeaten record against Bangladesh, having won eight of nine Tests so far and drawn one.
Inspirational all-rounder Daniel Vettori is absent this time after undergoing surgery on a troublesome Achilles tendon.
The Black Caps, who will also be without batsman Martin Guptill and seamer Tim Southee, have called up uncapped leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and all-rounder Corey Anderson for the series.
The tourists’ preparations for the first Test have been hampered by bad weather, which forced their lone three-day practice match in Chittagong to be abandoned. Rain has been forecast for the entire week, leaving the ground staff at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium worried.
The hosts have recalled left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak after a two-year absence at Test level, and also brought back batsman Anamul Haque, 20, who missed the previous series in Zimbabwe due to college exams.
Bangladesh have also included rookie all-rounder Marshall Ayub, 24, and seamer Al-Amin Hossain, 23, in their squad following the duo’s consistent performances.
The second Test will be played in Dhaka from October 21-25, followed by three one-day internationals and one Twenty20 game.AFP