|Ashraful eye strong end to 2007|
|Monday, 31 December 2007|
QUEENSTOWN: “It is very important that we keep improving and implement the plans thoroughly in this last one-dayer. We know we can play much better cricket and we want to end the year on a high because we have done some pretty remarkable things in two World Cups this year,” said captain Mohammad Ashraful after the squad practised for two and a half hours at the Events Centre in the afternoon.
“The important thing for us in batting would be to not lose wickets rapidly after a big partnership. The set batsman must go on and there must be one batsman from the top-order who will be there in the last 10 overs of the innings. In bowling we just have to find ways to get early wickets. We have not managed these things so far in this series,” Ashraful added.
The pitch looked similar to the ones Bangladesh have found in the other venues and run-scoring should not be a problem here also if the batsmen can apply themselves.
“All our batsmen have looked comfortable against that (New Zealand) attack which means we have adapted well to the conditions here. It is just that we have got out,” said Ashraful.
The Events Centre’s spectators areas are dominated by beautifully trimmed grassy mounds with the mountain chain in silhouette in the background. A 5000 plus crowd, which is a reasonably big number in the context of Queensland’s population, is expected tomorrow if rain, that fell steadily throughout the afternoon and evening, stays away. The Centre houses a fully equipped basketball and soft ball arena with an artificial rock climbing facility at a corner. The outdoor cricket nets are almost a six hit away from the airport with a golf course acting as the buffer zone.
Bangladesh have kept an unchanged playing XI for the match which gets underway at 11am local time (4am Bangladesh Standard Time).
After practice the Tigers spent a fascinating afternoon which started with a jet boat adventure through the rugged rocks and narrow waterways of Shotover River. The team then went atop the Bob’s Peak mountain on cable cars (gondolas) to the famous Skyline Gondola Complex to enjoy the amazing views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the mountain range in the distance.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s top run-scorer in Tests Habibul Bashar, Shahriar Nafees Ahmed and spinner Enamul Haque Jr. arrived in Auckland today to join the Test squad. They stayed the night in Auckland and are expected to reach Queenstown tomorrow morning.
Bangladesh: Mohammad Ashraful (Captain), Zunaed Siddique, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Tushar Imran, Shakib Al Hasan, Farhad Reza, Mushfiqur Rahim (Wicketkeeper), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain.
New Zealand (From): Daniel Vettori (Captain), Brendon McCullum (Wicketkeeper), Jamie How, Peter Fulton, Scott Styris , Ross Taylor, Mathew Sinclair, Jacob Oram, Kyle Mills, Mark Gillespie, Chris Martin, Jeetan Patel
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