Southee up for another ‘battle of spin’
Following a 150-run defeat in the first Test in which the hosts' spinners dominated the show in Sylhet, New Zealand skipper Tim Southee is expecting yet another battle of spin at Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National stadium as the visitors take on Bangladesh in the series-saving second and final Test, beginning on Wednesday.
The spinners took 32 wickets in four innings at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, while the pacers took six scalps and two run outs, which was an expected outcome for the Kiwis given the nature of subcontinental conditions.
Southee told reporters today: "When you come to this part of the world, you expect the spinners to play a big role. We saw that in the first Test match and we're expecting similar in the second Test. Having said that, I think Kyle [Jamieson] created a number of chances throughout that first Test … he was looking pretty good and pretty threatening in these conditions as well.
"It's always a battle of spin in this part of the world, and it's what we expected coming here. So, yeah, it's something we are expecting in this second Test as well."
Bangladesh spinners had combined to scalp 18 of the 20 New Zealand wickets in Sylhet, with Taijul Islam leading the pack with a ten-wicket haul. Southee stated that his side were prepared for the spin challenge in Sylhet, but the experience in such conditions will serve as a learning curve for some of the players.
Despite having five spinners in their team, the visitors went with two specialist spinners in the opening Test: Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi. Although Southee disputed that they missed out on an extra spinner in the form of Mitchell Santner or Rachin Ravindra in the first Test, the 34-year-old hinted that there is a fair chance of the visitors featuring an extra spinner in Mirpur.
"Yeah, they [Mitchell Santner and Rachin Ravindra] are obviously capable spinners. But we went with what we thought was the best side to win that first test match.
"The last Test series that Ish Sodhi played, he was a standout spinner for us. And obviously Ajaz has done a great job for us. It's just a tough one to try and fit your 15 great players to fit into an 11. So, it's about picking a side that you think is going to do the job for the five days ahead of you," Southee explained.