New Zealand v Bangladesh, two-match Test series
January 1 – 12, 2022
First Test, January 1-4
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui (10pm December 31, UK)
New Zealand start their home series with what looks set to be a straightforward two-Test Match series against Bangladesh, starting at the picturesque Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on New Year’s Day.
The Black Caps, winners of the ICC World Test Championship final against India at Southampton in the English summer just gone, lost their next series 2-0 in India in November.
Unlike that series, this one is not part of the new tournament cycle (2021-2023).
Even without captain Kane Williamson, who is out injured with a longstanding elbow issue, it is difficult to see the Kiwis losing this series, and there is very little value in the series markets available – which are limited across the usual sites to outright series winner and series correct score.
Trent Boult hit the headlines recently thanks to his heroics with the bat, not ball.
In New Zealand’s Super Smash T20 competition, he has been playing for home side Northern Brave. On December 23, in a game against Canterbury at Mount Maunganui, the Brave were chasing 107 and had fallen to 101-9 with two balls remaining. However, number 10 Boult crashed the final ball of the match from seamer Ed Nuttall for six over mid-wicket to seal a victory which sent social media into meltdown.
So there is every chance the left-arm quick will be brimming with confidence.
There is actually some rain forecast during the first Test, which could juice up the track nicely for the Kiwi quicks to run amok.
Boult has claimed 20 wickets in his last four Tests, dating back to last December when he claimed four in a win over Pakistan at this venue. He should be raring to go after opting out of the India tour due to bubble fatigue.
And to top it off, he needs only eight wickets to become only the fourth New Zealander to reach 300 wickets in Tests. If he gets those eight wickets here, the popular vote for POTM could go his way.
Paddy Power are offering a Price boost of 7/2 on New Zealand opener Devon Conway to be his country’s top-scorer in the first innings of the first Test.
Conway is returning from a broken hand suffered whilst punching his bat after a dismissal at the T20 World Cup in November and is without any significant cricket. And what time he has had in the middle was limited to a two-ball duck in a warm-up match against Bangladesh earlier in the week.
On the other side of the coin, New Zealand are fully expected to rack up the runs against a Bangladesh side who have only won two Tests in the last three years – both against Zimbabwe.
And left-handed Conway’s early career Test record is superb. He has scored 379 runs in three games (six innings), including a double century on debut at Lord’s in June.
Conway batted three in this week’s two-day warm-up game, but is expected to open in the first Test alongside stand-in captain Tom Latham.
He has every chance of adding to early career scores of 200, 80 and 54 against England and India when the less potent Bangladeshis pitch up at this North Island venue.