New Zealand fail trial by spin as Bangladesh sniff victory

Published December 2, 2023
SYLHET: Bangladesh’s close-in fielder Shahadat Hossain celebrates after New Zealand batter Kane Williamson is adjudged to be lbw during the first Test at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.—AFP
SYLHET: Bangladesh’s close-in fielder Shahadat Hossain celebrates after New Zealand batter Kane Williamson is adjudged to be lbw during the first Test at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.—AFP

SYLHET: Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam claimed 4-40 to put Bangladesh within three wickets of a famous win over New Zealand in the first Test in Sylhet on Friday.

Bangladesh set New Zealand a daunting target of 332 on a turning track and then reduced them to 113-7, still needing 219 runs for what looked like an improbable win, to close in on victory on day four.

Batting last in a spinner-dominated contest, New Zealand had to play out of their skin but a top order meltdown has left them on the brink of defeat in the opening match of the two-Test series.

Daryl Mitchell dragged the match into the fifth day with an unbeaten 44, remaining New Zealand’s only hope to produce a miracle.

Ish Sodhi was with him on seven, but not before he was reprieved by the third umpire after initially being given out two overs before stumps.

Bangladesh will be looking to wrap up the New Zealand innings quickly on the fifth and final day for what they hope will be their second Test win against New Zealand and their first at home.

“It’s fun to beat a big team,” Taijul said. “We haven’t won yet but, we are trying our best.”

New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel said the Kiwis had “obviously a lot of batting to do” but insisted the battle was not over. “We’ll come out there and still fight and see where we get to,” he said. “We’ve got Dazzler [Mitchell] there who’s batted quite nicely today.”

Pacer Shoriful Islam and spinners Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nayeem Hasan complemented Taijul with a wicket each to ensure Bangladesh did not really miss the bowling of regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who is among several frontline players ruled out of the series with injury.

Earlier, resuming on 212-3, Bangladesh were all out for 338 in the second session of the day.

Mushfiqur Rahim (67) completed his fifty, while Mehidy Hasan Miraz made an unbeaten 50 to stretch Bangladesh’s lead.

Patel took the last wicket, that of Shoriful, to finish with 4-148 for New Zealand, while leg-spinner Sodhi claimed 2-74.

Tim Southee dismissed Najmul Hossain Shanto in the second over of the day after the Bangladesh skipper added just one run to his overnight 104.

Fellow overnight batsman Mushfiqur was trapped leg-before by Patel after he completed his 27th Test fifty.

New Zealand cleaned up the last three wickets in less than an hour after the lunch break.

New Zealand were rattled early in their second innings with Shoriful, the lone seamer in Bangladesh’s spin-heavy attack, dismissing Tom Latham for a duck in the first over before the spinners took over.

Taijul struck a body blow when he trapped danger man Kane Williamson lbw for 11 to put Bangladesh in the box seat.

Williamson offered a forward defensive shot but was beaten by the ball which rapped him low on his front pad.

Williamson opted to review the decision that had gone against him but could not get it reversed.

Mehidy then got rid of Henry Nicholls for two to leave New Zealand struggling at 37-3 at tea.

Devon Conway fell to Taijul for 22, giving a catch to close-in fielder Shahadat Hossain soon after the resumption.

Taijul then knocked over Tom Blundell for six to put New Zealand in further trouble.

Mitchell and Glenn Phillips added 21 runs for the sixth wicket to momentarily halt Bangladesh’s victory push.

Nayeem hit Phillips in front of the wicket on 12 before Taijul removed Kyle Jamieson for nine but Mitchell’s obduracy stretc­hed the game to its final day on Saturday.

SCOREBOARD

BANGLADESH (1st innings) 310 all out

NEW ZEALAND (1st innings) 317 all out

BANGLADESH (2nd innings; overnight 213-3):

Mahmudul Hasan run out 8

Zakir Hasan lbw b Patel 17

Najmul Hossain c Blundell b Southee 105

Mominul Haque run out 40

Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Patel 67

Shahadat Hossain lbw b Sodhi 18

Mehidy Hasan Miraz not out 50

Nurul Hasan c&b Phillips 10

Nayeem Hasan c Latham b Sodhi 4

Taijul Islam c Nicholls b Patel 0

Shoriful Islam st Blundell b Patel 10

EXTRAS (B-2, LB-7) 9

TOTAL (all out; 100.4 overs) 338

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-23 (Zakir), 2-26 (Mahmudul), 3-116 (Mominul), 4-214 (Najmul), 5-248 (Shahadat), 6-278 (Mushfiqur), 7-291 (Nurul), 8-311 (Nayeem), 9-312 (Taijul).

BOWLING: Southee 15-3-33-1, Jamieson 13-3-25-0, Patel 36.4-1-148-4, Phillips 16-4-47-1, Sodhi 19-2-74-2, Mitchell 1-0-2-0.

NEW ZEALAND (2nd innings):

T. Latham c Nurul b Shoriful 0

D. Conway c Shahadat b Taijul 22

K. Williamson lbw b Taijul 11

H. Nicholls c Nayeem b Mehidy 2

D. Mitchell not out 44

T. Blundell c Nurul b Taijul 6

G. Phillips lbw b Nayeem 12

K. Jamieson lbw b Taijul 9

I. Sodhi not out 7

EXTRAS 0

TOTAL (for seven wkts; 49 overs) 113

STILL TO BAT: T. Southee, A. Patel.

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Latham), 2-19 (Williamson), 3-30 (Nicholls), 4-46 (Conway), 5-60 (Blundell), 6-81 (Phillips), 7-102 (Jamieson).

BOWLING: Shoriful 6-2-13-1, Mehidy 11-3-31-1, Taijul 20-7-40-4, Nayeem 10-1-24-1, Mominul 2-0-5-0.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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