New Zealand are expecting a "hard-fought test series" against Bangladesh, says captain Tim Southee, even thought the hosts will be without several frontline players in the two-match series.
Regular Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan and fast bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Ebadot Hossain have been ruled out of the series - which starts in Sylhet on Tuesday - with injuries, while Litton Das is on paternity leave.
Southee reckons the home side, to be led by Najmul Hossain Shanto, will particularly miss their talismanic all-rounder Shakib and keeper-batsman Das.
"Shakib's obviously been a great player for a long time...and Das is a class player who has done well against us in the past," Southee told reporters on the eve of he series.
"I guess it's a bit of a miss for them not having those guys, but it presents an opportunity for some other guys to slip into those positions that have been occupied for a long period of time by those two."
Southee said conditions would be "foreign" in what would mark the beginning of the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle for both teams.
"Obviously pace plays a big role back in New Zealand and in this part of the world, spin historically plays a pretty big role.
"We've got some quality spinners that have done some great things in test cricket, so we're looking forward to them showcasing their skills."
New Zealand have arrived in Bangladehs with three frontline spinners, in Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Ajaz Patel.
The inaugural WTC champions also have other slow bowling options in all-rounders Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips.
Bangladesh have won only one match in the last two World Test Championship cycles.
However, that victory was against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui early last year when Hossain claimed 6-46 in the second innings in an eight-wicket win.
Australian Associated Press