Can Tigers crack 20?
12:00 AM, March 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:29 AM, March 08, 2019

Can Tigers crack 20?

Of the 113 Tests Bangladesh have played so far including the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton last week, 52 have been played abroad and 61 at home.

Bangladesh have won a total of 13 Tests and just four of those have come playing away from home.

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The first ever away Test win for Bangladesh came nine years after the country was granted Test status, and the triumph came against a severely depleted West Indies side in 2009 when the visitors swept the two-match Test series 2-0.

The two other away Test wins for the Tigers were the 143-run win over Zimbabwe in Harare in 2013 and the memorable four-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval in Bangladesh's landmark 100th Test in Colombo in March 2017.

A common saying in cricket prescribes that if you want to win a Test match, you have to pick 20 opposition wickets and the bowlers managed to do that in each of those four away wins.

The only time that Bangladesh managed to pick 20 wickets away from home and lost the game was against the West Indies last year at Kingston, where the visitors went on to lose the second of two Tests by 166 runs.

The Tigers came really close against Pakistan in Multan in 2003, when they picked 19 wickets before Inzamam-Ul Haq's heroic unbeaten hundred snatched a one-wicket win to deny Bangladesh their first ever Test win.

Ahead of the second and series-saving Test against the Kiwis at the Basin Reserve, stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad was asked whether the visitors really believed that they could win a Test in New Zealand.

“Yes, I believe that. Although it will be a tough challenge... I believe we can win.”

However, when it comes to winning a Test match, the main mantra is to take 20 wickets but the disappointing show in Hamilton by seamers Abu Jayed, Khaled Ahmed and Ebadot Hossain -- who conceded 369 runs in 87 overs for just one wicket -- does not inspire much confidence.

When asked whether the bowlers are capable of picking 20 wickets, Mahmudullah said: “Obviously it will be challenging and I believe we have to use the conditions as our strength is very limited. It will be important that we can utilise our limited strengths and execute well, and if we can do that the result will take of itself.”

It is almost confirmed that Mustafizur Rahman is set to play the second Test starting today as Khaled is expected to make way for the left-arm seamer.

There will be high expectations on Mustafizur, who has been the frontline seamer and the most experienced among the current lot with 12 Tests and 27 wickets. But there are still some questions about the venom of the left-arm seamer away from home as he has scalped just 11 wickets in four Tests abroad --  a stark contrast to his limited-overs performances.

Although Mahmudullah backed his seamers after the below-par performance in the first Test, the skipper did add that he expects more consistency from his pacers.

There has also been a perennial question mark relating to the level of interest and enjoyment Bangladesh seamers possess for the longest format of the game and their urge to bowl long spells. As a result, Bangladesh has had to make frequent changes to their pace-bowling personnel as the team management is yet to identify a specialist pace bowler for Tests.

The over-dependence on Mustafizur has also put the 23-year-old under tremendous pressure and it will be important to release some of it from the Fizz and prepare other options in the fast bowling department.

But from today, Mustafizur will be the centre of attention with the other pacers in orbit and only time will tell whether they would be able to exploit the windy Wellington conditions and if they can indeed scalp 20 wickets in a Test match.

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