Spinner Sohag Gazi is hoping to repeat the all-round heroics he showed in the drawn first Test against New Zealand as Bangladesh seek a rare series win against the visitors this week.
The 22-year-old shone in the series opener in Chittagong earlier this month. He became the first cricketer in history to score a century and claim a hat-trick in the same Test, propelling him to instant stardom in the success-starved nation.
Gazi, who has played seven Tests in his fledgling career, returns on Monday to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka – scene of his outstanding nine-wicket debut against West Indies last year – for the second and final Test of the series.
The off-spinner, who has since emerged as a bright all-round prospect, scored an unbeaten 101 in the first Test against New Zealand before taking 6-77 in the tourists’ second innings including a hat-trick.
“In the second match my aim will be to keep this streak,” Gazi said. “I don’t know if I will break a record again or not, but I am thinking about taking a five-for again.
“Actually, there is nothing different to do. The manner in which I bowled in the last match, I will try to bowl in a similar way. I will work on the little mistakes that I made in the previous game.”
Bangladesh are hoping the wicket will offer some assistance to the Bangladesh spinners after they were frustrated by a flat batting pitch in Chittagong for long periods.
New Zealand scored 469 in their first innings before Bangladesh amassed 501, only the third time the hosts have passed the 500-run mark in their history.
Providing stark evidence of the ease of batting, the two teams together struck 27 sixes, which equalled the all-time record for most sixes in a Test match.
“There will be some advantage for spinners in Mirpur,” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said on Sunday. “We’re taking our preparations to keep it in mind.”
New Zealand in contrast were mulling an extra seamer as their spinners failed to make any impact the first Test.
Bruce Martin finished with match figures of 2-175 from 43 overs while débutant leg spinner Ish Sodhi could claim only three for 169 from 39.1.
“This is something (an extra seamer) we need to look at and work out the balance of our team,” said New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum. “Obviously if we do include the extra seamer in place of one of our spinners, we have got (a) number of options.”
New Zealand batsman Peter Fulton said the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium could favour the spinners.
“It looks very dry, not a lot of grass on it. It is similar to the Chittagong game, preparing it to be low and slow,” he said.
“The wicket may turn more than it did in Chittagong. We are preparing for every scenario.”
Bangladesh, with eight defeats in their past 12 matches, are rooted at rock bottom in the international rankings below Zimbabwe, with New Zealand just one place above in eighth place.
The Test series will be followed by three one-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International.
Bangladesh (from): Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Mohammad Mahmudullah, Anamul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Naeem Islam, Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Robiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain.
New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (capt), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, B.J. Watling, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Mark Gillespie, Ish Sodhi, Bruce Martin.