Resolute Kiwis still 303 runs adrift
After Bangladesh declared at 595 for the loss of 8 wickets one hour into the third morning of the opening Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, it was the time for the baffled home team to try and match what the visitors had done.
The Black Caps responded well against an inexperienced Bangladesh attack, reaching 392 for 3 at stumps. However, the return of strong winds late in the day and the forecast of inclement weather on Sunday considerably lessened the chances of any result other than a draw unless something extraordinary happens over the next two days.
The cornerstone of the hosts' response was a fine unbeaten 119 from left-handed opener Tom Latham and an aggressive 53 from skipper Kane Williamson. There was no record-equalling century from Ross Taylor, who was dismissed for 40.
As for Bangladesh, they got one wicket each in each session. It was a tough day for the rookie Bangladesh bowling attack as the five bowlers, save Shakib Al Hasan, had only the experience of four Tests between them.
Kamrul Islam Rabbi, who made his debut against England a couple of months ago, picked up two wickets, while debutant Taskin Ahmed claimed the prized scalp of Williamson. Another debutant pace bowler Shubhashis Roy toiled hard without success on a wicket with little movement off the seam.
Young off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who had a dream debut against England as he picked up an amazing 16 wickets in two Tests, made some sort of record in New Zealand when he bowled the first over from the scoreboard end. Although he bowled without success, he had the heaviest workload with the ball on a pace-dominated wicket. He bowled 26 overs in three different spells and of course against the wind, conceding 80 runs but more importantly showing his uncanny ability of bowling a consistent line and length in conditions where the ball hardly takes grip or turn.
Bangladesh's champion all-rounder Shakib bowled three overs in his first spell and conceded 18 runs. Maybe he was a bit of a target of the home batsmen who certainly did not like his imperious 217 the previous day. He bowled another four overs in the final session with the wind but it was more like business as usual without any threat.
Among the three pace bowlers Rabbi got a wicket off the very first ball he bowled. Taskin was unlucky to not get a wicket in his first over. Meanwhile, Shubhashis had a more serious thing to sort out rather than bowling with decent pace.
Taskin bowled with pace and he dismissed Williamson with a top delivery that shaped in before leaving late and took the edge of the New Zealand's skipper's extended bat to stand-in wicketkeeper Imrul Kayes, who stood behind the stumps in place of injured skipper Mushfiqur Rahim.
Rabbi struck the first blow when he had Jeet Ravel caught behind with a good rising delivery that the right-hander could only fend off to Imrul after scoring 27 off 39 balls. He was given a lifeline by Sabbir Rahman who, while standing at third slip, dropped him on 22.
Earlier, Bangladesh declared their first innings at 595 for eight, their second highest innings total behind 638 against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2013.
The highlight of the morning was Sabbir Ahmed's fifty. Resuming the day on 10, the dashing right-hander completed his half century with an exquisite cover drive off Neil Wagner. He was unbeaten on an 86-ball 54 which contained seven boundaries. He got good support at the other end from Rabbi, who also remained not out on 6. The declaration came after 18 overs of the day's play.