Basin Reserve pitch green, Bangladesh even greener

The first two days of the Wellington Test were complete washouts. There were puddles everywhere and the only ones in whites were ducks and seagulls. Yet, anticipation was high going into Day 3. You see, there are few things that generate more excitement among cricket fans than a green pitch. And this wasn’t just a pitch with a tinge of green; rather, it was mostly grass-cover with some pitch underneath.
Only around a couple of months back, Sri Lanka had staged the most unlikely of great escapes in Wellington through an epic partnership between Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis that lasted 655 balls. The dryness of the 22-yards had come in for a bit of criticism back then. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, they came in the way of the curator’s shot at redemption.
Adding onto their misfortune, they even lost the toss and were put into bat, with both captains agreeing that that was the only smart option. Now, if you had got a glimpse of the pitch before play began, and not followed any of the action thereafter, you’d have thought that a first-innings score of 211 wasn’t the worst effort by Bangladesh.
Thing is, it wasn’t the seaming ball that got them into trouble as was the expectation. Trent Boult and Tim Southee hardly found much with the new ball in their opening spells, so much so that Tamim Iqbal even got the visitors off to a bit of a flier. Strikingly, he drove good length balls on the up through cover and point, not something you’d do when there is movement on offer. Now granted, Boult and Southee weren’t at their best, but bowlers of their calibre – there’s a limit to the extent of how bad they can be. So why didn’t they get a whole lot out of the surface, it’s anybody’s guess. Maybe it was too cold to move around, who knows.
Fact of the matter is that Bangladesh were off to a start. They were 75/0 before Colin de Grandhomme – the most threatening bowler at this point – got his reward, finding Shadman Islam’s outside edge with a gentle nibbling good length delivery. A perfectly standard dismissal on a green pitch, no issues.
But what followed, starting from around 15 minutes before lunch through the entire middle session, left a lot to be desired from Bangladesh. As mentioned above, it wasn’t the seaming ball that got them.
Instead, it was Neil Wagner who blasted through their batting line-up with short-pitched bowling, which had little to do with the pitch.