Bangladesh and New Zealand will square off in a relatively subdued Test series starting on 9 October 2013. The two teams will play just two Tests before they switch gears for a one-day series starting on 29 October 2013.
What: Bangladesh vs. New Zealand, first Test, Day 1
Where: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
When: Wednesday, 9 October 2013, 04:30 a.m. BST
Live Stream/TV info: New Zealand SKY Sport 3
Weather: Accuweather predicts all doom and gloom for the first day's play, with periods of rain dominating the forecast for the majority of the day. Although there are some rain-free periods, the chances of getting the ground ready to actually play are slim.
Pitch: A Test was last played in Chittagong in December 2011, when Pakistan took on Bangladesh, and the visitors triumphed by 184 runs. Very spin-friendly, as most pitches in the subcontinent, but equally friendly to batting when the threats of wayward turning balls have been safely negotiated.
New Zealand, who have not played a Test match since they travelled to England in May this year, haven't had much chance to adjust to the conditions in Bangladesh. Their one and only warm-up game was washed out and abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Kiwi ace Kane Williamson admitted that, although it was frustrating, it's just something that happens in cricket. Via Mohammad Isam of espncricinfo.com, he told reporters at a press conference:
It is not ideal. It is a shame not to get a practice match, but we have a few days to train and prepare accordingly. You get thrown these curve balls at times, but you have to deal with them. It is no excuse for us. We have to prepare well in the next few days.
Williamson is one of the players who has had some practice in the longer form of the game recently. He signed on as Yorkshire's overseas player and scored 403 runs at an average of 50.37 in the County Championship.
New Zealand and Bangladesh last faced each other in a T20 during the World T20 last year, but the series which will bring the hosts the most delight is their 4-0 ODI series victory during 2010.
Most of the games were tightly contested, and although it was a different format, it's still something which lingers in the back of everyone's mind. Ross Taylor said that the Bangladesh team can pose a serious threat.
Via Isam, Taylor told reporters that New Zealand have been looking at footage at some of Bangladesh's players over the last few days:
Tamim and Shakib are world-class players. There's Abdur Razzak who has had a lot of success against us in the past. We have seen a lot of [Sohag] Gazi through footage. Mahmudullah has played very well against us as well, scored a hundred in Hamilton.
New Zealand have never lost a Test match against Bangladesh, and Bangladesh have won just four of the 79 games they played and have drawn just eight. One of those wins came this year, when they beat Zimbabwe in Harare.
New Zealand might have a few better players, but Bangladesh hold all the aces when it comes to the conditions. It should be a fairly tasty series, if the weather behaves.
Shakib Al Hasan is one of Bangladesh's brightest stars. Although his specialty is T20, the left-hander is fast becoming a cult figure, and he's only 26 years old. His crafty spin and fiery hitting will be a handy asset for Bangladesh, with most of the focus being on his bowling should the hosts be fielding first.
All eyes will be on how Ross Taylor slots into the batting and whether he can dig in on a what could possibly be a tricky surface.
Mushfiqur Rahim (capt.), Mahmudullah, Anamul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Naeem Islam, Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Robiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain
Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson.