CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand promised to bounce back quickly from their first-Test loss to Bangladesh and captain Tom Latham redeemed the pledge with a commanding unbeaten century Sunday on the first day of the second Test.
Latham lost the toss for the sixth time while standing in as captain for Kane Williamson and had to bat on a disconcertingly green pitch at Hagley Oval. By stumps he was 186 not out and with the help of a half century to Will Young and Devon Conway, who faced a nervous night on 99 not out, New Zealand was 349-1.
“I’m a bit nervous naturally but I’ll try to take a sleeping tablet to help me go to bed and reassess tomorrow,” Conway said. “It was special today, considering the fact after we lost the toss. I think both teams wanted to bowl first. The way Tom Latham and Will Young went about their work was really special and Tom was outstanding to bat throughout the day and I was just grateful to bat beside him.”
Bangladesh’s shock win in the first Test thrilled the cricket world. The ninth-ranked team in the world had beaten the second-ranked team. Even more, the immense underdogs had beaten the champions of the long format in their home conditions where they were unbeaten in their last 17 Tests.
It was the stuff of fairytales but on Sunday the quiet, pragmatic Latham brought Bangladesh back to a cruel reality. Latham hadn’t previously scored even a half century but the captain dominated the day, carrying his bat through 90 overs. By stumps he had hit 28 fours for 112 runs from boundaries.
Latham accumulated steadily and briskly, reaching his half century from 65 balls, his century from 133, his 150 from 199. And he played a full array shots, favoring the cut when Bangladesh bowled too short with the new ball in the morning then leaning into his drives and bringing midwicket into play in the next two sessions.
He scored 70 of his 100 partnership with Young and 57 of a century partnership from 155 balls with Conway.
“The way Tom hit some of his drives, the sound of ball meeting the bat was awesome,” New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi told reporters.
“To be not out and bat the whole day and to be continuing tomorrow with Devon...it was a fantastic effort from both ends.
“There’s obviously going to be times on a green surface when you’re going to get a bit of luck but you’ve also to keep batting and make the most of it.”
Latham was given out lbw to Ebadot Hossain twice in the ninth over and both decisions were reversed after the batsman reviewed them.
Ebadot created another chance soon after the lunch break but Liton Das spilled Young, then on 26, at second slip with the batsman rubbing salt in the wound with a rare seven runs after running three and picking up four overthrows.
Shoriful Islam finally broke the stand when he had Young caught at gully for 54 but Latham continued to punish the wayward Bangladesh bowlers. Latham was on 169 when Bangladesh blew a review trying to get him caught behind.
“Unfortunately we did not bowl enough good balls to create the sort of pressure that we created last week,” Bangladesh fast bowling coach Ottis Gibson told reporters. “New Zealand would have been hurting from last week and they came back and showed why there are one of the best teams in the world.”
Bangladesh were forced into making two changes to the squad that had triumphed in Mount Maunganui.
Opener Mahmudul Hasan (hand) and middle order batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (groin) missed out with injuries and were replaced by Nurul Hasan and Mohammad Naim.
New Zealand brought in Daryl Mitchell for fellow all-rounder Rachin Ravindra.
NEW ZEALAND (1st innings):
T. Latham not out 186
W. Young c Naim b Shoriful 54
D. Conway not out 99
EXTRAS (LB-7, W-3) 10
TOTAL (for one wkt; 90 overs) 349
FALL OF WICKET: 1-148 (Young).
TO BAT: R. Taylor, H. Nicholls, T. Blundell, D. Mitchell, K. Jamieson, T. Southee, N. Wagner, T. Boult.
BOWLING: Taskin 22-5-68-0 (2w), Shoriful 18-6-50-1 (1w), Ebadot 21-1-114-0 (1w), Mehidy 25-1-95-0, Shanto 4-0-15-0B
BANGLADESH: Shadman Islam, Mohammad Naim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Nurul Hasan, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain.
UMPIRES: Chris Gaffaney and Wayne Knights (both New Zealand).
TV UMPIRE: Chris Brown (New Zealand).
MATCH REFEREE: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2022