Some solidity at long last | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2019

Some solidity at long last

As he walked off the field after the first day of the two-day practice match had concluded yesterday, Tamim Iqbal turned to this reporter and remarked: "You can smile now, Bangladesh have played well in New Zealand for the first time on this tour."

It was indeed the first time the Tigers had something to cheer about since arriving in Middle Earth as the visitors were whitewashed in the three-match ODI series owing to below-par batting performances.

However, the players looked relaxed yesterday and regardless of the quality of the bowlers in the New Zealand XI, the Bangladesh batsmen should also get some credit for making the most of their time in the middle at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln yesterday.

It was an ideal preparation in terms of adapting to conditions as Bangladesh took guard under chilly, overcast conditions throughout the day, which at times featured a light breeze.

Almost all the batsmen scored runs and looked comfortable as the Tigers ended the first day on 411 for six in 96.1 overs. Four of their batsmen had retired to give others a chance and as many struck fifties.

It was a relief to see openers Tamim Iqbal and Shadman Islam add a 100-run opening stand and even more pleasing that the left-handers took their time and looked to play according to the merit of the ball.

Shadman was more composed as he not only left balls away from the stump, but also played shots on both the front and back foot with great authority as he reached a half-century.

At the other end, Tamim played comfortably as right-arm seamer Adam Milne, who has played forty ODIs for New Zealand, was the only express bowler in the opposition's bowling attack.

However, Milne bowled just four overs and left the task to the uncapped seam-bowling trio of Edward Nuttall, Ben Sears and Dale Philips. They could not bowl to great effect as Tamim and Shadman took the score beyond the hundred-run mark in the first session.

Later, it was left-arm spinner Ben Lockrose and left-arm chinaman Blake Coburn who operated for most of the proceedings, which the Tigers negotiated with comfort.

Mominul Haque was the only batsman who missed out as he was caught at third slip for 20 while trying to guide a short of a length delivery.

On the other hand, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah Riyad and Mehedi Hasan Miraz all remained compact with their shot selection and all of them -- barring Soumya, who had 41 -- struck fifties and retired.

Mahmudullah hit a 60-ball 59, featuring eight boundaries and a six, and his return to form will surely be a confidence boost ahead of the first Test in Hamilton, a venue where the right hander has struck two hundreds -- his maiden Test hundred in 2010 and a cracking century against New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup.

However, now that the batsmen have had their turn, it will be important for the visiting bowlers to gain in confidence as well on the second day before facing the real test against New Zealand.

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