Bangladesh host New Zealand in Test cricket for the first time in ten years in what could be a formidable pair of matches in the ultimate format for the visitors.
The pitches in Bangladesh in recent series have been hostile to batting in general, but especially for batters who aren’t good against a spinning ball.
It will be just the second time that the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium has hosted a Test match some five years after the first, which saw Zimbabwe beat hosts Bangladesh.
To Win Match
Bangladesh 33/10 | Draw 9/2 | New Zealand 11/20
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe has sounded a call for the team to move away from the players who have served them well for many years but are now getting on just a bit.
Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed will be enforced absences through injury, while regular vice-captain Litton Das has a wife who is expecting the arrival of a child in the coming days.
Still, the spin bowling duo Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz will ensure that Bangladesh start as firm favourites in this series, in my opinion.
They will need to ask a lot of their young batsmen to get the results they want to make Bangladesh a force in Test cricket at home.
Even though it was a very different format, New Zealand should take heart from the batting of Daryl Mitchell through the Cricket World Cup and will hope he can translate his combative approach to the Test arena.
New Zealand’s rising star Rachin Ravindra is a player who will be out to put in some big contributions with both bat and ball as well, especially on the subcontinent where the Black Caps will hope he will be a game-changer.
This series forms part of the new World Test Championship cycle, which got underway with the Ashes earlier this year.
The series against Bangladesh will be the first action for New Zealand in the World Test Championship campaign.
Verdict: Bangladesh 33/10
It will be tough for New Zealand to get a positive result in Bangladesh. Massive value on the hosts at 33/10.