Cricket: NZ bowlers need to think smart

By David Leggat

Coach Mike Hesson has spoken of senior spinner Bruce Martin's need to change his approach and bowl with more pace. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Coach Mike Hesson has spoken of senior spinner Bruce Martin's need to change his approach and bowl with more pace. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand would like more pace and bounce in the pitch for the second cricket test against Bangladesh starting today - but they're likely to be out of luck.

After all, from Bangladesh's perspective, why would you alter home conditions to suit the visitors?

So the expectation from New Zealand is for batsmen-friendly conditions - 11 hundreds in the last four tests in Dhaka - where spinners will be more favoured than the seamers. If that proves the case, the bowlers need to think smart.

The pick of the bowlers in the drawn first test at Chittagong was offspinner Sohag Gazi, who is gaining a decent record, 34 wickets in seven tests with a good economy rate, early in his career. His six for 77 in the second innings against New Zealand, including a hat-trick, was achieved bowling at a brisk pace.

In the last test to be played at the Shere Bangla stadium, against the West Indies last November, there were more than 1000 runs scored in the first half of the match, but Gazi grabbed nine for 219, including a bag of six in the second innings.

"He's a good bowler and a good competitor," Kane Williamson said yesterday.

"They tend to bowl quite straight and are pretty accurate. They can wear you down.

"As a spin unit we've been looking to bowl quicker with the nature of these surfaces. If you're bowling slow the ball sits in the wicket and makes it easier [for batsmen]."

The part time offspinner, whose role has assumed more significance this year, feels it can be harder to face spinners in Bangladesh conditions who deliver the ball faster through the air.

Coach Mike Hesson has spoken of senior spinner Bruce Martin's need to change his approach and bowl with more pace.

The team for the test had not been named last night and Williamson wasn't giving any secrets away. However, the batting is unlikely to change and the only adjustment would be a third seamer - probably Neil Wagner - for either allrounder Corey Anderson, who made his debut in Chittagong, or one of the two specialist spinners, Ish Sodhi or Martin.

First test century maker Williamson said although pitch and conditions would be factors, so would working out where they are best to attack the Bangladeshis to secure the series win. The days of their hosts being the soft touches of a few years ago are long gone, he believes.

"Without a doubt," Williamson said. "[At home] they're extremely competitive against whoever they play."

That said, they've won just one test out of 40 in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh v NZ

Second test, Dhaka, from 4.30pm today (NZT)
Bangladesh: (from) Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Amanul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque, Shakib al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Abdul Razzak, Robiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, al-Amin Hossain.

New Zealand: (from) Brendon McCullum , Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Bruce Martin, Trent Boult, Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, Mark Gillespie.

- NZ Herald

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