New Zealand skipper Tim Southee called the pitch used for the second Test against Bangladesh as “probably the worst wicket” he has played on.
Only 178.1 overs were needed by New Zealand to scamper through to a series-levelling win against Bangladesh in Mirpur. Led by Glenn Phillips’ 40 not out, the visitors chased down the fourth innings target of 137 with four wickets to spare after being reduced to 69-6 at one stage.
A total of 36 wickets fell in the clash, 30 of which went to the spinners. Phillips, who has picked up all eight wickets of his Test career in this series, grabbed 3-31 off 12 overs in the first innings, with five other wickets falling to Mitchell Santner and Ajaz Patel as Bangladesh were all out for 172.
New Zealand were dismissed for 180 in reply and were eventually set a challenging target after Patel’s 6-57 shot out Bangladesh for 144 in the third innings. It was only the 23rd time the spinners from both sides have combined to take 30 or more wickets in a Test match since 2000, nine of which have been played in Bangladesh.
But despite Phillips’ clinical show with the bat and New Zealand’s victory, Southee was not left impressed with the track used for the game, calling it “scrappy”.
“It is probably the worst wicket I’ve come across in my career,” Southee said. “The balance between bat and ball was heavily favoured into the bowler’s hands. I think for the match to be over in 170 overs sort of reflects that. So, for our guys to scrap away and then come away with the win was a big pleasure.
“I think it was just a scrappy Test match. It was obviously a tough wicket. Runs were hard to come by, and just those little moments and partnerships throughout were crucial, whereas in other matches, I guess when conditions are a little bit more even between bat and ball, they don’t get noticed as much.”
Najmul Hossain Shanto, however, defended the choice of wicket saying Bangladesh are only maximising the home advantage. “When we play Tests, we are not here to improve. This is not a place for practice. We are trying to win the Test,” Shanto said.
“It is important that we prepare to win the Test, but we should definitely take this type of advantage. We can prepare in first-class cricket by trying out good wickets. We should prepare wickets like these and wickets like away conditions in NCL [National Cricket League] or BCL [Bangladesh Cricket League].”
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