New Zealand defeated Pakistan in their last Test assignment © Getty Images
New Zealand defeated Pakistan in their last Test assignment © Getty Images

After getting mauled in the One-Day International (ODI) series and Twenty20 International (T20) series, Bangladesh head into the Test series with shattered confidence. New Zealand on the other hand, look the more dominant and settled side in the most gruelling of formats. Both teams clash in a two-Test series starting on January 12 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington a good hunting ground for the hosts. The Black Caps will be led by Kane Williamson, while the Bangladeshi Tigers will have a change of guard and see a fit-again Mushifiqur Rahim taking over reins from Mashrafe Mortaza. Both teams are coming off wins in their last Test assignment.

The Kiwis under Williamson at home have been an unstoppable force in the own back yard, coming off a comprehensive 2-0 win against Pakistan in November. Apart from the regular faces New Zealand side will include Dean Brownlie, Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme. De Grandhomme will want to continue his splendid run off late, while Raval would be eager to cement his place in the side. Raval in the domestic T20 competition has been scoring runs at the loot. New Zealand will be happy to see the returning Ross Taylor in the squad after he underwent an eye operation. Williamson under his wing has a young and skilled batting unit in Tom Latham, Raval and Henry Nicholls.

Full Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs New Zealand, 1st Test Wellington

Their bowling unit will be led by the pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, with the impact-full Neil Wagner adding the much needed intimidation. Spinning duties will be handled by Mitchell Santner and if need be Raval. Santner will look to overcome a disappointing ODI series and move forward.

From Bangladesh’s perspective the Test series holds a much bigger value as they have gone winless on his tour. They have looked formidable in parts but have holed out at crucial moments in the all their matches so far. They have already had some bad news going into the first Test with the unavailability of their star pace man Mustafizur Rahman. Mustafizur has been rested by the selectors citing the increasing workload on the young left-armer. Mushfiqur is fit again for the first Test and there are a few bright spots in his team. The form of Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan looks promising after their show in the T20I series.

A huge chunk of the responsibility will be upon their best batsman Tamim Iqbal and his opening partner Imrul Kayes and the experienced Mushfiqur himself. Tamim had an off ODI and T20I series and will look forward to change the pattern in Tests. Another player who will be under the scanner is Mominul Haque, who shone with the bat against England in Bangladesh.

With Mustafizur out, Taskin Ahmed will in all likelihood lead the young and potent pace attack. Taskin is yet to make his debut. Others who will partner Taskin will be Rubel Hossain and Subashis Roy to complete the three-man unit. Spinner duties will be handled by Shakib and new sensation Mehedi Hasan. Hasan tormented England in the last Test he featured in but under these conditions, it will be difficult to replicate the magic.

With the curator giving clear indications that the surface will be a green top, New Zealand clearly hold the psychological and skill-set edge over Bangladesh. While Bangladesh would not mind a fast track, it becomes highly important to know the art of bowling on a fast pitch than just bowling.

Both teams head into the Test series with a lot to prove and improve. Basin Reserves awaits another promising contest.

New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

Bangladesh Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim(c & wk), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Nurul Hasan, Subashis Roy.

TIME: 03:30 IST | 22:00 GMT | 11:00 Local