Breeze around the Basin Reserve
Ends: Vance Stand End, Scoreboard End
Home Team: Wellington
Test History: 58 Tests; 16 home wins; 19 away wins; 23 draws
Last 10 Tests: 2 home wins; 3 away wins; 5 draws
Last 10 tosses: 2 batted first (1 win, 1 draw); 8 bowled first (1 win, 3 defeats, 4 draws)
The Basin Reserve hosted its first Test in 1930, when openers Stewie Dempster and Jack Mills became the first New Zealanders to score Test tons in their stand of 276. England were the visitors on that occasion, and managed to hold on for a draw.
It wasn’t until 1969 that New Zealand tasted victory on their most beautiful ground (it’s protected by an Act of Parliament and is the only sports ground on New Zealand’s National Heritage list) when the West Indies were the visitors.
Nestled beneath Mount Victoria and Mount Cook, the Basin is a proper cricket ground, with a cracking sun-trap of a grass bank on the eastern side, which also offers shelter from the notoriously unpredictable southerly winds that can whip across the ground.
The Basin Reserve owes its existence to an 1855 earthquake that levelled out enough ground for a cricket field, and is the scene of many of New Zealand cricket’s finest moments: Sir Richard Hadlee took his 300th Test wicket here, while Martin Crowe (299) and Andrew Jones (186) put on 467 for the third wicket against Sri Lanka in 1990-1 – at that time a world record.
Last Time Out
New Zealand were dismantled by Australia in February 2016 but things might have been different had Adam Voges not received an undeserved reprieve on his way to 239.
Voges was bowled by Doug Bracewell early in his innings but survived after the umpire incorrectly called a no-ball.
Usman Khawaja also cracked 140 in Australia’s massive 562 all out. Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon took the bulk of the 20 Black Caps wickets to fall as they stumbled to a huge innings and 52 run defeat.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said: “It’s looks fairly similar (to past Basin pitches).
“Hopefully there’s pace and bounce and obviously (it will) do a bit early. It’s got that green tinge which is normal here at the Basin. It looks good surface.”
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim said: “Bowlers do get excited by extra bounce but the best ball here, like any other pitch, is one that targets the top of off stump.
“We have tried to pass on this message to our bowlers and also told them that even a top batsman needs one ball to get out. The bowlers have to work hard here because New Zealand know how to handle these conditions.
“When you know as a group that you can take 20 wickets, it gives a bit of satisfaction. But we are playing in a different condition and we haven’t played an away Test in a very long time. The pace bowlers have to take over the attacking role that the spinners have in home Tests. I believe that our pace bowlers have the ability to take 20 wickets if they bowl at their best.”
Happy Hunting Ground
Kane Williamson tops the runscoring for current players at the Basin Reserve having scored 722 runs at 72.20 in 7 Tests including a double hundred.
Trent Boult leads the wicket taking list for players still active having taken 22 wickets in five Tests here.
While Shakib-al-Hasan and Mushfiqur have played at the Basin reserve neither will have fond memories of a ground they lost at by an innings and 137 runs though Shakib managed 41 not out in the second innings in January 2008.
The weather is set to be cool to moderate on all five days, never going above 25 degrees, with cloud cover to some degree every day as well. The cloud cover could make things even tougher for the batting side with a high probability of rain on days one and four.
Two days out the pitch resembled a bowling green and is likely to provide seamers with plenty of assistance.
Bowling first here seems to be par for the course, to mix sporting metaphors, because the grass on the deck on day one can see a batting side skittled out cheaply.
Bowling on days one and two is generally preferred, and after that it flattens out for batsmen who can maintain concentration. Turn tends to arrive only late in the game.
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