Spinners drag Bangladesh back into contest as NZ teeter on 55-5

December 07, 2023

DHAKA: Spinners Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam shared five wickets between them to help Bangladesh claw their way back into contention with New Zealand struggling at 55-5 in Wednesday’s opener to the second Test.

An astonishing 15 wickets fell in the first day’s play in Dhaka, with the hosts all out for just 172 in an innings where Mushfiqur Rahim became just the second batsman in Test history to be dismissed for obstructing the field.

Mehidy and Taijul then cut a swathe through New Zealand in the final session before bad light prompted an early finish.

Bangladesh's Mehidy Hasan Miraz (R) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Devon Conway (not pictured) during the first day of the second Test cricket match between Bangladesh and New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on December 6, 2023. — AFP

Mehidy scalped Devon Conway (11), Kane Williamson (13) and Tom Blundell (0) in between Taijul’s dismissal of Tom Latham (4) and Henry Nicholls (1) to obliterate the tourists’ early advantage.

“We believed that we could make life difficult for them if we bowled in the right areas,” Mehidy said after the day’s play. “We struggled against their spinners. We know these conditions pretty well, so that gave our bowlers the confidence that we could take more advantage from this pitch.”

Daryl Mitchell was batting on 12 alongside Glenn Phillips on five when stumps were drawn at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, with nine overs remaining.

Mitchell Santner and Phillips earlier took 3-65 and 3-31 respectively after the hosts opted to bat, while Ajaz Patel claimed 2-54 for the tourists as they dominated in their bid to level the two-match series.

“We saw the ball going a lot, so I think if it dries up a little bit, it might start to flatten out,” Santner said of the spin-obliging pitch. “We know it’s going to be a scrap, and we just have to try and apply ourselves.”

Mushfiqur top-scored with 35 after Bangladesh opted to bat, helping the hosts recover from a dismal 47-4. But he then suffered a rare dismissal in the second session when, after defending a delivery from Kyle Jamieson in the 41st over, he instinctively swatted the ball away with his hand.

England’s Leonard Hutton was the only other batsman to be dismissed for obstructing the field in Test cricket, during a match against South Africa at the Oval in 1951. Mushfiqur’s out would have previously been considered a “handled the ball” dismissal, but a change in the laws in 2017 brought the category under “obstructing the field”.

His 57-run partnership with Shahadat Hossain had helped the hosts recover from the spin demolition of their top order by Santner and Patel. But after Mushfiqur returned to the pavilion, Phillips dismissed Shahadat (31) and Nurul Hasan (seven) to put Bangladesh into further trouble.

Tim Southee claimed the last wicket and did not concede a run in his 5.5 overs. Earlier, Zakir Hasan and Mahmudul Hasan put on 29 runs in the opening stand before a disastrous five overs saw Bangladesh lose four wickets for just 18 runs. Bangladesh are chasing a first-ever Test series win over the Black Caps after their 150-run victory in Sylhet last week.

Bangladesh won the toss

Bangladesh 1st innings 172 all out (Mushfiqur Rahim 35; Mitchell Santner 3-65, Glenn Phillips 3-31)

New Zealand 1st innings

Latham c Nurul b Taijul 4

Conway b Mehidy Hasan 11

Williamson c Hossain b Mehidy 13

Nicholls c Shoriful b Taijul 1

Mitchell not out 12

Blundell lbw b Mehidy 0

Phillips not out 5

Extras: (b5, lb4) 9

Total: (5 wickets, 12.4 overs) 55

Still to bat: Santner,Jamieson, Southee, Patel

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-22, 3-30, 4-46, 5-46

Bowling: Shoriful 1-1-0-0, Mehidy 6-1-17-3, Taijul 5.4-0-29-2

Umpires: Paul Reiffel (AUS), Rod Tucker (AUS)