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Bangladesh boss Blackcaps on day two

Sunday 2 January 2022 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Bangladesh boss Blackcaps on day two
HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES

Day 2: New Zealand 328 all out (Devon Conway 122, Will Young 52, Henry Nicholls 75, Shoriful Islam 3/69, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 3/86,) vs Bangladesh 175/2 (Mahmudul Joy 70*, Najmul Shanto 64, Wagner 2/27). Report by Rahul Patil from the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, NZ.

At the start of day 2 if the Bangladeshi captain Mominul Haque was told that he could have the 5 remaining New Zealand wickets for the addition of a further 70 runs to their overnight total of 258 I think he would have gladly accepted the offer. Bangladesh started day 2 looking for early wickets and they had the perfect start when Rachin Ravindra edged one to 3rd slip to give Shoriful Islam his 3rd wicket of the innings.

Overnight not out batter Henry Nicholls at the other end kept playing his shots, found ways to keep the scoreboard ticking and soon brought up his 50 with a delightful pull shot of Ebadot Hossain. The Blackcaps scored 39 for 1 in the first hour of play and at that stage looked well set to go past 350 in their first innings.

But they don’t call cricket a game of uncertainties without a reason. The resumption of play after the first drinks break saw a flurry of wickets. First Kyle Jamieson played a poor shot in trying to hit off spinner Mehidy for a six, but only managed to find the hands of deep long on. Then Tim Southee (who for reasons best known to the Blackcap's team management continues to bat ahead of Neil Wagner) had a soft dismissal chipping a harmless delivery from Mehidy to midwicket. Next man in Neil Wagner got a beauty from Mehidy first up. The ball drifted in with the arm, pitched on a length, drew Wagner forward, gripped of the surface and turned enough to just kiss the outside edge of Wagner’s bat. Watching this ‘10 wickets in an innings man’ - Ajaz Patel would have been licking his lips in the New Zealand dressing room…. but hang on, he isn’t in the playing 11…. and hang on a bit more as he isn’t in the squadeither! Trent Boult managed to deny Mehidy a hat-trick but the New Zealand innings soon ended for 328 when Nicholl’s tried to reverse sweep captain and part time left arm spinner Mominul and only managed a top edge to short third man. For Bangladesh Shoriful and Mehidy picked up 3 wickets each and part timer Mominul chipped in with 2 scalps. Interestingly spinners picked up 5 of the 10 wickets to fall. Hopefully New Zealand don’t have to regret their decision of not playing a frontline spinner in their 11 and all-rounder Rachin Ravindra can do the job with his left arm spin.

The Bangladesh openers had to bat for an uncomfortable 10 minutes before lunch and they made sure they enjoyed their lunch with all 10 wickets intact. New Zealand on the other hand wouldn’t have enjoyed their lunch much after putting on a below par total in their first innings considering the Bay Oval wicket is at its best for batting on days 2 and 3.

Post lunch the Bangladesh openers stuck to their task of playing out the new ball by putting on a steady partnership of 43. It wasn’t until the introduction of Neil Wagner in the 17th over that things started happening. Remember Wagner wasn’t picked in the test matches against India. On flat wickets like the one at the Bay Oval he makes things happens. He runs in all day and is happy to bowl long spells. He brings the ball back into the right handers and nobody is comfortable when he starts attacking them with well-directed short pitched bowling. Today he got the wicket of Shadman Islam with his 7th delivery Shadman closed the face of his bat on a low full toss a bit too early only to be caught brilliantly by Wagner in his follow through. Shadman would be disappointed though, as up until then he had done all the hard work in reaching 22.

The moment of the day though came in Wagner’s next over. He bowled a full swinging delivery to right hander Joy who tried to flick it but missed and was hit right in front of the stumps. It looked plumb to the naked eye but a massive appeal was turned down by umpire Chris Brown (who believe it or not was born in Rarotonga and is a former Cook Islands cricketer who also played first class cricket for Auckland). The blackcaps had the option of reviewing the decision but decided against it. Replays confirmed that Joy had not hit the ball and ball tracking showed 3 reds which meant that if New Zealand had reviewed the on field decision Joy would have been given out. Joy got a lucky break and was still batting 70 not out at stumps and the blackcaps were left frustrated thinking ‘only if’.

From then on Joy and his partner Shanto put their heads down and dug in. It was slow progress but they had the luxury of time and blunted New Zealand’s attack with some resolute defense. There was the odd play and miss and the odd streaky edge that dropped short or went through the gap but apart from that both batters looked solid and reached the tea interval with the scoreboard reading 70/1.

The post-tea session saw Captain Tom Latham making frequent bowling changes to try and break the 2nd wicket partnership but once again apart from Wagner none of the other bowlers looked threatening. The more time Shanto spent in the middle he started opening up and made sure he put the bad balls away. He bought up his 50 with a huge slog swept six over deep mid-wicket. Joy followed soon bringing up his maiden test 50 of a 165 deliveries. The pair who earlier made a new record for the highest 2ndwicket partnership for Bangladesh vs New Zealand soon celebrated their 100 run partnership and New Zealand looked like they were running out of ideas to break it. And once again Neil Wagner put up his hand luring Shanto into chasing a wide one to be snapped up at gully. Dismissed for 64 Shanto looked well set for a long innings but his wicket gave the blackcaps much needed hope.

With 9 overs to go before the end of the days play captain Mominul Haque & Joy survived some nervy moments but saw it through till stumps without any further damage. Bangladesh finished day 2 on 175 for 2 still trailing New Zealand’s first innings by 153 runs but it was a display full of grit, determination and patience which has put them in a great position in this test. New Zealand on the other hand will have to get early wickets tomorrow morning to wrest back the advantage or it might be another long day in the field for them.