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Vettori takes centre stage in Test series

Vettori takes centre stage in Test series

In the sub-continent spinners see more action than fast bowlers.

Chittagong (Bangladesh): Daniel Vettori faces a double challenge, both as skipper and spin bowler, as New Zealand come back from a long break to take on Bangladesh in the first of two Tests here from Friday.

The 29-year-old left-armer knows that different sub-continent conditions -- the slow pitches and sweltering heat -- mean spinners see far more action than fast bowlers.

"It will be our first Test in a long time so it is an exciting challenge and we are geared up for that," said Vettori, whose team's last Test was in England five months ago.

It was Vettori who took six wickets in each innings of the Chittagong Test at the M A Aziz Stadium when New Zealand mauled the hapless Bangladesh by an innings exactly four years ago.
Vettori said he was looking forward to the action during this week's test at the Divisional Stadium.

"That was a different ground, but we know spinners would bowl more overs in such conditions, so Jeetan (Patel) and I will be ready," he said.

The Black Caps recovered well from the shock of suffering their first-ever one-day defeat against Bangladesh in the opening game by winning the next two to wrap up the limited overs series 2-1 on Tuesday.

Vettori said he hoped to take that momentum into the Test.

"The first game was disappointing but there has been gradual improvement since," he said, adding that he thought New Zealand would be up to the challenge of taking on Bangladesh on their home turf.

The visitors are a frontline bowler short, with the experienced paceman Chris Martin left out of the Test squad through a hamstring strain. He has been replaced by Mark Gillespie.

Bangladesh too have problems of their own. They have won just one of their 53 Tests so far, losing 47 with five draws.

To add to their woes, 14 frontline players, including their most experienced Test player Habibul Bashar, joined the unrecognised Indian Cricket League last month, badly depleting the strength of the team.
Captain Mohammad Ashraful said he still hoped his team would prove they were capable of competing in Tests.

"I hope we try our level best to improve our Test performances," said Ashraful, who took over as captain from Bashar last year.

"We look forward to the Test series and realise that batsmen will have to put up a good fight against quality New Zealand bowling," said Ashraful, whose own Test form is also a major concern.

Bangladesh have recalled experienced batsman Rajin Saleh in a squad of 13 which includes three left-arm spinners in Abdur Razzak, Mehrab Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan.

The squad also includes off-spinning all-rounder Naeem Islam and paceman Mahbubul Alam, both of who have yet to play in a Test.

The second Test will be played in Dhaka from October 25.

Teams (from):

Bangladesh: Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Zunaed Siddique, Rajin Saleh, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehrab Hossain, Naeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel, Shahadat Hossain, Mahbubul Alam.

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Grant Elliott, Daniel Flynn, Gareth Hopkins, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Aaron Redmond, Iain O'Brien, Mark Gillespie.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (AUS) and Asoka de Silva (SRI).

Tv umpire: Enamul Hoque (BAN).

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND).
first published:October 15, 2008, 18:49 IST