Bangladesh ended Day 3 of the first Test against New Zealand in a commanding position, leading by 73 runs. With 401 runs on the board, it is already their fourth-highest score in New Zealand and only their fourth score of over 400 in the country.
In Ross Taylor’s last Test series, New Zealand were led by Tom Latham, in absence of Kane Williamson, who is out due to a recurring elbow injury. After winning the toss, Bangladesh chose to field first in conditions that were tailor-made for seam bowlers. NZ were made to work hard for their runs, ending Day 1 on 258. Devon Conway was the pick of their batters as he smashed his first century on home soil and also his first as a non-opening batter.
After losing Latham early, Will Young was joined by Conway, and they put on 138 for the second wicket. After Young departed for a fighting 52, Taylor joined Conway to stitch together a 52-run partnership. Bangladesh bowlers were finally rewarded for their efforts late on Day 1 as they ended up picking five wickets, keeping the game in balance before the close of play.
Bangladesh bowlers started Day 2 strongly and bowled out NZ for 328. It was the first time that Bangladesh bowled out a team from SENA country in their backyard for a score under 350. It was also the first time since March 2017 that spinners took five or more wickets in an innings in NZ.
The Bangladeshi batters didn’t let their bowlers down for their efforts, starting cautiously and putting up a solid 43-run opening partnership. It was followed by a 104-run partnership between Mahmudul Joy and Najmul Shanto. Wagner was the key enforcer for NZ. After bowling a barrage of short-pitched deliveries, Wagner got his wickets off fuller length balls, a set-up that has become quite common with the left-arm pacer.
Bangladeshi skipper Mominul Haque was in sublime touch, scoring a fluent 88 before getting trapped LBW by Trent Boult. With conditions assisting seam bowlers who bowled fuller lengths, NZ were guilty of bowling too short or short of good length. Despite getting rewards when the balls were pitched fuller, their plan of keeping the ball on short of a good length backfired, with the Kiwis already facing a deficit of 73 runs. This is the first time in their Test history that Bangladesh have taken a lead after winning the toss and opting to bowl first.
NZ will be looking to keep Bangladesh’s lead to under 100 runs and wrap up their innings early on Day 4, but a spirited show from Bangladesh has now opened the doors for the Tigers, who are searching for a historic win away from home.