Mominul Haque (64 not out) and Tamim Iqbal (56) composed fluent fifties to propel Bangladesh to 154 for 3 at close of play on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday (January 12). Due to persistent rain and bad light only 40.2 overs were bowled through the course of the day.
Just like the first two sessions, the final one also was marred by inclement weather. The visitors resumed on 119 for 2 after rain had wiped off close to two hours of the third session. To make up for lost time, the final session was extended to 25 overs. However, only 10 overs were bowled in the third session before poor light forced the umpires to call off play.
New Zealand, however, were able to break the threatening stand of Mominul and Mahmudullah (26) by dismissing the latter. Neil Wagner picked up the crucial scalp of Mahmudullah. It wasn’t a delivery that deserved a wicket as it was bowled well wide of the off-stump, but Mahmudullah could only eke out an edge to BJ Watling behind the stumps. Only 2.3 more overs were bowled before stumps were drawn for the day. Shakib Al Hasan (5 not out) will resume the innings with Mominul on Day 2.
It certainly turned out to be a frustrating day for New Zealand. After winning the toss and opting to bowl in seamer-friendly conditions, the home team would have hoped for early incisions. However, Tamim unfurled a volley of drives and cuts to put the home side under pressure.
Trent Boult, in particular, came in for severe punishment as Tamim played with poise and imagination. In the first over of the day, the left-handed batsman slashed Boult over the slip cordon. He then proceeded to cut and drive the swing bowler.
The way Tamim paused for a moment before the willow came gently down on the ball to crack an imperious back foot drive off Boult in the fifth over just encapsulated his class and quality. However, by then, Bangladesh had lost the wicket of Kayes. Tim Southee, Boult’s partner-in-crime, ushered in a well-directed bumper in his second over of the day to force Kayes to top-edge a pull to fine leg.
With Boult proving to be expensive, Kane Williamson introduced Colin de Grandhomme into the attack. The all-rounder too sprayed it around a bit and Tamim took advantage of it by cracking a drive to collect his sixth boundary.
De Grandhomme, however, made a good comeback by extracting seam movement from round the wicket to rap Tamim on the pads in his third over. The subsequent vociferous appeal for LBW was turned down. New Zealand took the review but the HawkEye showed that it was just clipping the bails and it turned out to be an umpire’s call.
With roughly about one hour to go for the Lunch break, rain halted play. When the play resumed after the break, Boult nipped out Tamim LBW. The initial decision was not out, but the on-field umpire had to reverse it after the ball-tracker indicated that the ball would knock over the stumps.
Mominul and Mahmudullah, however, sprinkled ones and twos with the occasional boundary to prop up Bangladesh’s innings. Mominul was the more aggressive of the two and cracked a stream of boundaries off Southee.
On the other hand, New Zealand’s bowlers struggled with the windy conditions on view and weren’t able to generate prodigious swing. In fact, commentators on air said that wind speeds were at about 137kph.
The hosts will look to put up a better show with the ball tomorrow. On the other hand, Bangladesh will hope that Mominul can convert his start into a substantial score. The weather forecast is promising for Day 2.
Bangladesh 154/3 (Mominul 64*, Tamim Iqbal 56; Neil Wagner 1-28)