Test matches (2): Bangladesh 0, New Zealand 0 One-day internationals (3): Bangladesh 3, New Zealand 0 Twenty20 international (1): Bangladesh 0, New Zealand 1
"Banglawash" was the portmanteau of choice from the moment New Zealand arrived. On their previous visit, three years earlier, they had lost the one-day series 4-0. In between, the term had crept into the Bangladeshi cricketing lexicon - and the local media were not about to let the New Zealanders forget it. Some of them brushed aside mention of that series with a smile; Ross Taylor dead panned that he couldn't remember it at all. But captain Brendon McCullum didn't try to conceal the wound. "It was a damaging tour," he said. "It hurt a lot of peoples' careers, and hurt our country as well."
New Zealand, while experimenting a little before the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in early 2014, prepared extensively for this tour in an attempt to lay Banglawash to rest. Ten of the squad had been on a recent A-tour to India and Sri Lanka, while the rest joined them at a training camp in Sri Lanka before departure. And New Zealand's one-day record over the previous 12 months had been encouraging, with series victories in South Africa and England. So when they lost all three 50-over games, it was McCullum's standing which suffered most. To say he had a dismal time was an understatement: he failed to pass 22 in five innings in all formats, before a back problem flared up during the one-day series and he had to fly home. He later quit wicketkeeping altogether. His departure meant New Zealand went through four keepers in six matches. It was worse for Kane Williamson, who was their leading scorer in the Tests, but then fractured a finger in the first one day international and was ruled out of this tour and the next to Sri Lanka, where he had been scheduled to captain while McCullum rested.
Bangladesh proved once again that they were hard to beat at home. Their one-day series win was achieved without talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, hero of the 2010-11 series, who was diagnosed with dengue fever on the eve of the first match. But drawing the Test series was arguably just as worthy an achievement. In the previous nine Tests between the countries, New Zealand had won eight, five by an innings, with the single draw down to rain rather than any fight from Bangladesh.
This time, they did not wilt. In the First Test at Chittagong, New Zealand ran up a large total, but Bangladesh stretched out their resistance so far that No. 8 Sohag Gazi scored a maiden Test century - and later added a hat-trick. The batsmen then responded with unusual composure when McCullum challenged them to bat out the last session and a half. Bangladesh's bowling looked toothless in the Second Test, but they were steered to safety by 22-year-old Mominul Haque, who belied his frail figure by becoming only the second Bangladeshi - after Tamim Iqbal, at Lord's and Manchester in 2010 - to score hundreds in back-to-back Tests. His total of 276 runs was the most for Bangladesh in a two-match series.
Twenty20, however, continued to dumbfound Bangladesh. "To be honest, we still can't understand this format," admitted their captain Mushfiqur Rahim, after New Zealand inflicted their seventh defeat in eight. Bangladesh had played fewer Twenty20 internationals than any Full Member aside from Zimbabwe, and the suspicion remained that their players simply didn't have enough high-level Twenty20 experience to compete with the strongest countries. It was a headache, only four months before they would have to prequalify against the Associates for the World Twenty20 proper, to be held on their own soil.
Match reports for
Tour Match: Bangladesh Cricket Board XI v New Zealanders at Chattogram, Oct 4-6, 2013