Stark difference in application
It is all about having a clear mind and a specific game plan, but those are aspects in which Bangladesh were found wanting while New Zealand were one step ahead over the first two days of the first Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
After asking Bangladesh to bat first and despite there being very little assistance from the pitch for the seamers, the Kiwi fast bowlers -- especially Neil Wagner -- kept things simple and did what was expected of him by unleashing a barrage of short deliveries. Bangladesh's batsmen fell for the trap and the tourists were all out for 234 despite Tamim Iqbal's blistering hundred.
It was pretty similar when New Zealand went out to bat. Openers Jeet Raval struck his maiden Test hundred in an opening stand of 254 -- the third-highest opening stand in New Zealand's history -- with Tom Latham, who smashed his fourth 150-plus score.
The Seddon Park green-top was expected to play even better as the day progressed and in such conditions, Bangladesh's pacers Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed and Abu Jayed looked helpless.
There was hardly any notable spell from the fast bowlers both in terms of their pace or the maintenance of a tight line and length to test the home batsmen. None of the specialist Bangladesh seamers managed to pick up a wicket, which will hurt the visitors even more.
To make things even more difficult, both Raval and Latham waited for the bowlers to get tired while also cashing in on the odd loose delivery with assured boundaries.
Even Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes admitted that there were constant changes in plans with the ball which eventually did not work, but he also gave credit to the Kiwi batsmen.
"We didn't start the day as well as we wanted with the ball and we probably went too leg stump-ish and then we changed plans as we planned to go leg side. And then we had another plan probably way too early which was to go short. It could have worked but it didn't as you have to understand that sort of plan takes a lot out of the bowlers and we might have to do that from one end rather from both ends. The bowlers were pretty cooked going into the afternoon and evening sessions," Rhodes told reporters yesterday.
The Englishman, however, did prescribe his seamers to be more consistent when it comes to hitting the right areas consistently in Test cricket and backed them, saying it was a 'learning curve' for the young pacers.
Talking about learning, the Tigers' batsmen could also take a lesson from their New Zealand counterparts like Raval, Latham, and skipper Kane Williamson, who remained unbeaten on a chanceless 93.
It took 27 innings for Raval to eventually to bring up his maiden ton in Test cricket and the 30-year-old's words after play held some tips for the Bangladesh batsmen, who like to play their shots and are often not able to resist that approach in Test cricket, which led to the sub-par first innings.
"I have worked with the red ball and I made sure I work on my discipline and focus, which I wanted to build on especially after getting those starts and not being able to convert those into big scores. I had a chat about it with the coaches and it worked well for me. If you are very clear on how you go about your innings, it makes it easy but if you are confused and try to pick and choose it makes it slightly complicated. So I just try to keep it as simple as possible and try to be disciplined within my own game plan," Raval told reporters yesterday.