Two late wickets in the session halt Bangladesh progress

New Zealand players celebrate as Bangladesh’s Mahmudul Hasan departs during their first Test of the two-match series at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on 28 November 2023.Shamsul Hoque

Mahmudul Hasan and Mominul Haque seemed to see off a perfect session but both the batters got out minutes before the tea as their first Test of the two-match series on Wednesday at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium was greatly poised.

Bangladesh were 185-4 at tea as Mushfiqur Rahim was on one and debutant Shahadat Hossain was yet to score.

Mahmudul, who opened the batting, looked very solid from the beginning but he edged one of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi for a sharp catch in the first slip by Darryl Mitchell. Mahmudul got out for 86 playing 166 balls.

Just four ball before the dismissal, the penultimate ball of the 53rd over, Mominul lost his wicket when he edged off-spinner Glenn Philips to be caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. With the dismissal of Mominul, who made 37, the 88-run stand was broken and New Zealand got right back into the game.

Earlier, Bangladesh’s captain Najmul Hossain decided to bat first after winning the toss and the first session could be well signified by the mode of two dismissals- one with one of the best deliveries while the other coming perhaps from the worst one.

Bangladesh openers Mahmudul Hasan and Zakir Hassan negotiated two visiting pacers Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson with classic Test match patience in the first hour of the match. Tall Jamieson got some bounce while skipper Southee got slight movements but the batters survived their first spells despite some plays and misses which could easily induce edges.

However, things became different when Aijaz Patel, the left-arm spinner was introduced. Bangladesh batters tried to score a few runs freely but the spinner delivered one of the finest balls at the hour mark.

Aijaz was mostly pitching the ball up and the batters were playing them in the front foot as the ball already started spinning in the very first hour of the Test match. But the 35-year-old spinner, who once claimed 10 wickets in a Test innings in India, bowled one a bit short and induced a sharp turn.

Zakir tried to ball from the backfoot having seen the length but completely failed to negotiate the outrageous spin that went through the gate of his bat and pad and disturbed the timber. Bangladesh reduced to 39-1 as Zakir was out for 12.

Having assessed the situation, Najmul, who had a torrid World Cup, started charging up from the beginning. He got off the mark with a six, the first Bangladeshi to do so at a captaincy debut, and started playing some big shots against dangerman Aijaz.

Najmul struck two more sixes and two fours to blunt Aijaz a little bit while Mahmudul stood solid in the other end against pacers and spinners alike.

Just when the pair looked very solid, New Zealand brought on occasional spinner Philips into the attack at the last half an hour of the session.

In his second over Philips bowled a full toss but Najmul, who already came down the track, completely mistimed his big whack and got caught at the mid-on. Kane Williamson held a good high catch under the sun to remove Najmul for a well-made 37 off just 35 balls as Bangladesh were reduced to 92-2.

Zakir (42) and Mominul (three) saw off the remaining overs before lunch.

Bangladesh are fielding a rather inexperienced side with few young players and 21-year batter Shahadat making his debut.

Both the team commences their new cycle of World Test Championship with this match.

Bangladesh (Playing XI): Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Zakir Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto(c), Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shahadat Hossain, Nurul Hasan(w), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Naeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shoriful Islam