Ashraful under pressure
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful is aiming to rediscover his batting form in the second Test against New Zealand.
Last Updated: 23/10/08 11:45am
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful is aiming to rediscover his batting form in the second Test against New Zealand, which starts in Mirpur on Saturday.
The Tigers need a win to claim a share of the series having lost the first Test in Chittagong by three wickets.
Ashraful failed twice with the bat during that defeat but is hopeful of a better showing in the series decider.
"I know people were angry with me but it doesn't irritate me because this is reality," said Ashraful.
"They support me when I do well, so I would like to have some support when I don't do well. Hopefully there will be a turnaround."
Bangladesh had looked on course for a maiden Test win over New Zealand in the first match after setting them a stiff victory target of 317.
But Aaron Redmond (79) and Daniel Vettori (76) both made impressive contributions to lead the tourists to their record away run chase.
Black Caps skipper Vettori also scored an unbeaten 55 in the first innings and collected nine wickets in the match, leaving his opposite number impressed.
"He (Vettori) was the difference in the first Test and we will have to find ways to get him early," added Ashraful.
"We still have a lot of positives from the first Test as we boweld and batted well but couldn't finish it off.
"We have the talent to win the second Test. The pitch will support our bowlers."
New Zealand coach John Bracewell is wary of a backlash from the hosts after their near miss in the opening Test.
"They may have seen it as an opportunity lost, not an opportunity that's going to destroy them," said Bracewell.
"They may say 'we're getting close' and take the optimistic line.
"Vettori needs more support and it's something we're working through, getting experience into the other bowlers, trying to build their skills."
Bracewell also praised his own players for the first-Test win, saying it spoke volumes about their strength of character.
"Given the position we were in, it's one of the great character wins," he noted.
"The way the guys assessed the run-chase and applied themselves was great.
"I couldn't heap enough praise on them.
"Heat took its toll but the players' ability to adapt and change in a quick turnaround is testament to their commitment and their ability and I hope they continue."