It has been well documented that test cricket is increasingly becoming a contest favouring the home team. And there are few environments favouring the home team quite like the Basin Reserve where the wind is fluttering around at 100kph or so.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 11, 2017
It is not so much the wind that throws the players as the thought of the wind. It simply makes some players uncomfortable.
Boult’s first three overs, bowling downwind, went for 26; Southee, chugging into it, started with two maidens and a wicket. That seems a bit counterintuitive, but regardless of where the wind is coming from it is still a game of cricket. Good areas, rhythm and swing etc; the wind doesn’t blow the clichés away.
In fact the strange aspect of the truncated day was how New Zealand really struggled to find rhythm when bowling downwind (74% of the runs came from that end). Take Southee; 9-3-23-1 bowling into it, followed by 2-0-22-0 when wind assisted.
In contrast the upwind bowling was superb; Southee’s opening spell above, followed by Wagner. If anyone appears to be perfect for these conditions it’s Neil Wagner.
You got the feeling Imrul Kayes didn’t want to be there. It was windy, a little bit cold, and Tamim was having all the fun at the other end. He thought it was a good idea to hook Southee into the teeth of it and pick out long leg’s throat.
In contrast former Firebird Tamim Iqbal looked at home from the start. A bit of wind? Bring it on.
When the rain came for the first time, and the players sprinted off (into the wind), Tamim had 36 of the 39 runs scored; when he departed for 56 Bangladesh were 60. It looked like cricket’s longest living piece of trivia was in threat.
Mominul Haque was a mixture. He didn’t look happy to be out there at first, and at one stage it looked as if the wind was going to pick him up and deposit him on the bank. But Tamim gave him confidence, and as the innings progressed there were so glorious shots; the flick off the shoulder for six being the highlight.
Bangladesh, led by the player with familiarity in these conditions, will be well pleased with 119/2 after being inserted. And, more importantly, they learnt that playing in a gale is not impossible.
UPDATE: Bangladesh ended up at 154/3; a grim twilight session did little to alter the course of the day. Wagner got a deserved wicket, and Haque continued to impress. Play will start at 10:30 tomorrow and it’s likely to be a completely different match.