Black Caps skipper Tom Latham with his Bangladesh counterpart Mominul Haque.
After a dismal first innings Bangladesh were facing an uphill task in their second innings but any hopes of a miraculous comeback were shut out by a clinical Black Caps unit on day three at the Hagley Oval. Report by Rahul Patil from The Hagley Oval in Christchurch NZ.
Day 3 - New Zealand first innings 521 for 6 declared (Latham 252, Young 54, Conway 109, Blundell 57*, Shoriful 2/79) vs Bangladesh 1st innings 126 all out (Yasir Ali 55, Nurul Hasan 41, Boult 5/43, Southee 3/28). Bangladesh 2nd innings following on 274 all out (Das 102, Mominul 37, Hasan 36, Jamieson 4/82, Wagner 3/77). New Zealand won by an innings and 117 runs. Series drawn 1-1.
Having wrapped up Bangladesh’s first innings in only 42 overs New Zealand’s bowlers were still fresh which prompted captain Tom Latham to enforce the follow on and ask the visitors to bat again. In the first innings both Tim Southee and Trent Boult troubled the Bangladeshi top order with swing in the air and movement off the pitch. But this morning there was neither on offer. The pitch too after two days of sun beating down on it had flattened out considerably and conditions were ideal for batting.
Both Bangladesh openers looked comfortable at the crease. They left well out outside the off stump and their shot selection was on point. Just when it looked like it would be a long day in the office for the Black Caps bowlers Kyle Jamieson provided the first break through in over number fourteen. Shadman Islam who had looked good all morning in reaching 21 was a bit unlucky to be strangled down the leg side trying to fend off a rising Jamieson delivery.
New man Najmul Shanto got a lifeline early on in his innings when Daryl Mitchell dropped him at third slip. Jamieson was the unlucky bowler. Riding his luck Shanto then unfurled a rainbow of beautiful drives, well timed cuts and fierce pull shots to reach a quick fire 29.
But Neil Wagner came in and did what Wagner does best. Going around the wicket to both left handers he attacked them with short pitched bowling. Although Shanto took on Wagner and picked up a few runs playing the pull shot it was a risky strategy. Finally, Shanto’s luck ran out and he pulled Wagner into the diving hands of Boult at fine leg.
Captain Mominul Haque then came in and survived a couple of nervous moments before lunch and Bangladesh reached lunch on day three at 74 for 3. Debutant Mohammad Naim showed tremendous grit and discipline to remain unbeaten on 15 of 81 deliveries.
Naim and Haque continued the resistance after lunch and bought up the team 100.
It took a sensational catch from skipper Tom Latham at second slip to break the partnership. Up until then Naim had been extremely compact but was finally tempted to chase a wide one from Tim Southee. The thick edge flew to the left of Latham who flung himself in the air to come up with a one handed stunner. Naim departed for an impressive 24 and Bangladesh were in spot of bother at 105 for 3.
That spot of bother increased further when Haque was sucked into having a waft at a full wide one by Wagner and the resulting edge was taken sharply at first slip by Taylor. The wicket was set up beautifully by Wagner who kept peppering the visiting skipper with chin music, kept pushing him onto the back foot and then got him driving loosely on the wicket ball for 37. Bangladesh 123 for 4.
First innings top scorer Yasir Ali was at the crease for nine deliveries but didn’t looked settled at all against a fired up Wagner. Spurred on by a vocal crowd, Wagner tested him with fast and short rising deliveries which promptly resulted in an uncomfortable fend that only lobbed up gently to Latham running in from second slip.
At 128 for 5 the writing was on the wall but the slide was temporarily halted by Liton Das and Nurul Hasan. Tea on day 3 - Bangladesh 152 for 5.
The Das and Hasan partnership really flourished after tea. Das who by nature is an aggressive batter came into his own and put on a masterful display of stroke making. He pulled, he cut and his driving on both sides of the wicket was a treat to the eyes. He raced to 50, Bangladesh raced past 200 and the partnership went past a hundred.
Latham has had a great test match. Runs with the bat, catches in the slips and clever captaincy in the field. With the new ball still more than 20 overs away, the Black Caps captain Latham decided to bring in all-rounder Daryl Mitchell into the attack for the first time in the match and it turned out to be a masterstroke.
Nurul Hasan had a brain fade and tried to hit Mitchell over the head of mid-off. Mitchell's lack of pace meant he was early through his shot, the bat turned in his hand and the ball lobbed up in the air to the left of mid-off. Wagner took a great running catch and ended Hasan’s innings on 36. For the second time in the match Hasan had thrown his wicket away after doing all the hard work.
Just like he did in the first innings Mehidy Hasan then stuck around for 33 deliveries. In scoring just 3 he didn’t trouble the scorers much but he kept Das company and helped him get closer to his hundred. When Mehidy departed edging Jamieson to Latham at second slip Das was still 19 away from his hundred and considering the batting prowess of the Bangladesh tail he started farming the strike.
Continuing his attractive stroke play Das soon brought up his second test ton. It was a chanceless innings of extremely high quality and the sporting Hagley Oval crowd acknowledged it by giving Das a standing ovation.
Next man in Shoriful Islam was quickly dismissed for a blob by Jamieson and New Zealand were just one wicket away from squaring the series.
What we witnessed next was something out of a fairytale. The Hagley Oval crowd started chanting “give the ball to Roscoe…. give the ball to Roscoe” wanting to see Ross Taylor bowl in his final moments in test whites. Captain Tom Latham obliged and like all fairytales do, this one too had a happy ending.
Of his third delivery Taylor enticed Ebadot Hossain to go for a slog. Ebadot only got height on it, the ball was in the air for an eternity, but Latham kept his nerves and managed to hold on to the catch. The crowd erupted in joy and New Zealand’s highest test run scorer bowed out of test cricket with a fairytale ending.
New Zealand won by an innings and 117 runs. They won’t be happy drawing the series 1-1 with Bangladesh but the manner in which they bounced back after the shock defeat in Mount Maunganui showed the world why they are the defending world test champions.
For his magnificent knock of 252, Tom Latham was the player of the match whereas for his twin hundreds in the series, Devon Conway was the player of the series.
On a personal note this is the first time I
have covered a test series and I have enjoyed every bit of it. I look forward
to bringing you more cricket in the near future, meitaki maata!