Najmul, Mahmudul fifties fuel strong Bangladesh reply as New Zealand toil
MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Bangladesh had one of their best days on tour in recent years on Sunday when they won all three sessions on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand.
The tourist’s bowlers first captured New Zealand’s last five wickets for 70 runs, dismissing the home side for 328 after they had resumed at 258-8 at the Bay Oval.
Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Najmul Hossain Shanto then made half centuries in a 104-run partnership for the second wicket and guided Bangladesh to 175-2 in their first innings at stumps, 153 behind but hopeful of a first-innings lead.
Najmul lived up to his considerable reputation with his second half century, to go with two centuries in his 12 Tests to date. He was out for 64 within sight of stumps and his innings was punctuated by several classy shots through the off side.
Mahmudul played the innings anchor and compiled his first Test 50 from 165 balls. He was 70 and had batted almost five hours by stumps when he had been joined by captain Mominul Haque, who was on eight.
Earlier, the Bangladesh spinners first wrapped up the New Zealand first innings three overs before the lunch break.
Devon Conway’s 122 gave New Zealand slightly the upper hand at the end of day one. But the failure of the tail, in spite of the efforts of overnight batsman Henry Nicholls who was the last man out for 75, tipped the balance of the match slightly in the tourists favor.
After Shoriful Islam removed all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, off spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz quickly captured the wickets of Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner who was out for a first ball duck.
Mominul bowled only four overs of orthodox left-arm spin but captured the two big wickets of the New Zealand innings, removing Conway and Nicholls and finishing with 2-6 from 4.1 overs. Mehidy had 3-86 after being wicketless on day one and Shoriful took 3-69.
Bangladesh got off to a decent start with Shadman Islam and Mahmudul adding 43 runs for the opening stand.
Neil Wagner broke the stand when he caught Shadman, who made 22, off his own bowling but Mahmudul and Najmul frustrated the host with a century stand.
Both the batsmen took time to get their eyes in and had their moments of discomfort but soldiered on.
“The century-plus partnership between them was important for us,” Mehidy told reporters afterwards. “We were missing top-order partnerships in recent times. This will give us a lot of confidence and there’s lot of cricket to play in the match.”
Najmul brought up his fifty in style slog-sweeping spinner Ravindra for a six before Wagner had him caught in the gully.
“Full credit to the Bangladesh batsmen, I thought they played really well,” Wagner told reporters. “They showed a lot of patience…it was a good day of hard Test cricket. I think we tried really hard. We just couldn’t really string it together and create enough pressure from both ends.”
But Wagner said the Test outcome was still far from clear with three days remaining.
“There’s still a lot of cricket left and that’s the beauty of Test cricket going five days. The wicket might take turn but also create opportunities later down the track if those cracks do come into play.”
NEW ZEALAND (1st innings; overnight 258-5):
T. Latham c Liton b Shoriful 1
W. Young run out (Najmul/Liton) 52
D. Conway c Liton b Mominul1 22
R. Taylor c Shadman b Shoriful 31
H. Nicholls c Shadman b Mominul 75
T. Blundell b Ebadot 11
R. Ravindra c Shadman b Shoriful 4
K. Jamieson c Shadman b Mehidy 6
T. Southee c Mominul b Mehidy 6
N. Wagner c Das b Mehidy 0
T. Boult not out 9
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-4, W-3, NB-3) 9
TOTAL (all out, 108.1 overs) 328
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-1 (Latham), 2-139 (Young), 3-189 (Taylor), 4-227 (Conway), 5-258 (Blundell), 6-265 (Ravindra), 7-297 (Jamieson), 8-316 (Southee), 9-316 (Wagner).
BOWLING: Taskin 26-7-77-0 (1w, 2nb), Shoriful 26-7-69-3, Ebadot 18-3-75-1 (2w), Mehidy 32-9-86-3 (1nb), Shanto 2-0-10-0, Mominul 4.1-0-6-2.
BANGLADESH (1st innings):
Shadman Islam c and b Wagner 22
Mahmudul Hasan Joy not out 70
Najmul Hossain Shanto c Young b Wagner 64
Mominul Haque not out 8
EXTRAS (LB-4, W-2, PEN-5) 11
TOTAL (for two wkts, 67 overs) 175
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-43 (Shadman), 2-147 (Shanto).
TO BAT: Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam.
BOWLING: Southee 15-2-41-0 (1w), Boult 14-5-37-0, Jamieson 13-4-35-0 (1w), Wagner 16-5-27-2, Ravindra 9-1-26-0.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2022