The year 2022 started for Bangladesh cricket with a tour to New Zealand for a 2-match Tests series, with the expectations of the fans hitting rock bottom, especially after a horrible end to 2021 losing a heavily rain-affected Test match against Pakistan at home.
Though Bangladesh's previous experience of touring the country with seam-supporting and bouncy wickets was horrendous, things turned out in their favour this time. The series produced a lot of positives for the visitors, even though the 2nd Test didn’t go Bangladesh's way.
The 1st Test that Bangladesh won was itself the biggest positive of the tour. In fact, the 7-wicket victory over the Test Champions of the World goes down as one of the greatest moments in Bangladesh Cricket's history.
Shoriful Islam, the left-arm seamer started things early getting the wicket of Tom Latham. Shoriful and Taskin's discipline and tight line and length were exemplary with the new ball and also later in the innings.
The incredible temperament of the Bangladeshi opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy came as a surprise for the New Zealand seamers.
Though he had some luck, he answered every question asked by Boult, Southee, Wagner and Jamieson smartly, and went on to become the first-ever Bangladeshi opener to have faced more than 200 balls in an innings in New Zealand. His tendency to leave the good balls more frequently was praised by Wagner.
In both Tests, the Bangladeshi middle order proved to be stable. After Mominul, Liton, Yasir and Miraj added 88, 86, 26 and 47 runs in the 1st innings of the 1st Test respectively, Bangladesh were at the driving seat.
Another big positive displayed in this series was Liton's consistency. His knock of 102 in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test was a sheer display of class and elegance. Experts like Harsha Bhogle praised his effort on social media. Yasir Ali's 55 also made the selectors know his ability to handle quality bowling attacks away from home.
Among all the positives, the Bangladeshi fast bowling on Day-5 stands as the highlight of the tournament, at least from the Bangladesh point of view.
From 147/5, New Zealand finished at 169 all out and it was out and out an Ebadot Hossain show. The seamers bowled 22.5 per cent of their deliveries on the stump corridor, the most since 2006 for any team visiting New Zealand (as per CricViz data).
Both Ebadot and Taskin put an end to the New Zealand innings with their 'wicket-to-wicket' reverse swing display, something that was rarely seen from a Bangladeshi fast bowling attack.
Ebadot's 6/46 was the first 5-wicket haul by a Bangladeshi seamer since 2013.
The absence of Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, and almost no significant contribution with the bat from another Bangladesh great Mushfiqur Rahim, made the victory more special as the next generation of cricketers announced their preparedness to step up.
The Test victory gained the global acknowledgement it deserved. Legends like Stephen Fleming and Ian Bishop, the cricket expert Harsha Bhogle, and even the football legend Gary Lineker were among the list of people who acknowledged the feat with their words of praise.