Big picture: Bangladesh seek Sylhet repeat
Bangladesh will look for another all-round performance, in the second Test in Dhaka, as they chase their first-ever series victory over New Zealand. They beat the visitors by 150 runs in Sylhet, and while Taijul Islam and Najmul Hossain Shanto stood apart with their individual performances, it felt like a comprehensive team effort.
They batted and bowled in partnerships, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy Hasan Miraz contributing crucial half-centuries in support of Shanto's third-innings hundred, and Mehidy and Nayeem Hasan backing up Taijul's efforts with the ball.
New Zealand will be itching to bounce back in a big way, and not just for the World Test Championship points. They've never lost a Test series in Bangladesh, and will want to keep that record intact. They'll also want to make a statement because they've lost two of their last three Tests against these opponents.
For their desired turnaround to come about, New Zealand will want to improve in a few key ways in Dhaka. After the first-Test defeat, their captain Tim Southee asked for more consistency from his bowlers, whom he felt did not match their Bangladesh counterparts in "apply[ing] pressure for a long period of time". Ish Sodhi, who bowled a number of long-hops while going at more than five an over in the first innings, and Ajaz Patel, who was a tad expensive in the second, will certainly want to tighten up.
With the bat, New Zealand will want more top-order support for Kane Williamson, whose first-innings century was one of only two 50-plus scores by a New Zealand batter in the first Test. On a Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch where they can expect more uneven bounce than there was in Sylhet, they'll want to execute their sweep shots better: both Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls, who usually play the shot well, were out playing this shot, caught at short fine leg.
For Bangladesh, Taijul and Mehidy will be back at a venue they relish bowling at. Nayeem will eye wickets too, given that he usually only plays home Tests, and will want to push for more consistent selection with Bangladesh set to play a lot of Test cricket next year. Bangladesh's close catching was impressive in Sylhet, and they will look to keep the standards up in Dhaka. They will also hope for runs from Zakir Hasan and Nurul Hasan, who missed out in both innings in Sylhet, and for a big score from Mominul Haque, who looked in good form while scoring 37 and 40.
Bangladesh WWWLL (last five Tests, most recent first)
New Zealand LWWWL
In the spotlight: Taijul Islam and Tom Latham
It is very rare for Tom Latham to not score heavily against Bangladesh. He made 21 and 0 in Sylhet, and he would have been particularly disappointed with his first-innings dismissal, off a top-edged lap sweep, a shot he normally plays very well. Latham has scored three centuries - all 150-plus scores - and averages 75.50 against Bangladesh, and will want to get back to tormenting his favourite opposition.
Taijul Islam took over the bowling leader's role in Sylhet with a ten-wicket match haul. He removed Kane Williamson in both innings, cheaply in the second, while exerting a lot of pressure on the New Zealand line-up. Taijul's consistent line and length tests batting line-ups, and allows his captain to set tight fields. Taijul has a great record at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where he averages 24.28: he's the second highest wicket-taker at this venue, and needs eight wickets to go past Shakib Al Hasan's tally of 76.
Team news: Will New Zealand consider Ravindra or Santner?
Nayeem Hasan suffered a blow on his non-bowling hand in practice but it is not yet considered too serious. Bangladesh are unlikely to change their winning combination, especially in Mirpur where they have historically played three specialist spinners.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 2 Zakir Hasan, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), 4 Mominul Haque, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Shahadat Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Nayeem Hasan, 10 Taijul Islam, 11 Shoriful Islam.
Rachin Ravindra and Mitchell Santner could be in the discussion, but New Zealand usually doesn't tinker unless it is absolutely necessary.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Devon Conway, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Glenn Phillips, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Tim Southee (capt), 11 Ajaz Patel.
Pitch and conditions: Good ol' Mirpur
Expect spin to return to centrestage at the Shere Bangla National Stadium after Bangladesh's fast bowlers took 21 wickets in the two Tests here earlier this year, against Afghanistan and Ireland. Unseasonal rain is forecast, particularly on Thursday, the second day of the Dhaka Test.
Stats and trivia: Best Test year beckons for hosts
Bangladesh are tied on three wins in 2023 with 2014 and 2018 with the most Test wins in a calendar year.
In Sylhet, Kane Williamson became the first New Zealander to score four centuries in consecutive Tests.
Najmul Hossain Shanto is the first Bangladeshi captain to score a century in his first Test in charge.
"His record is phenomenal. He has nearly 200 wickets. He is very consistent. He showed great maturity in this Test match. Rangana Herath has done a lot of good tactical work with him. Similar to [Herath] in the way he set up some of the batters. I think he is going to serve Bangladesh cricket for a long time."
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe on Taijul Islam's maturity and tactical improvement