New Zealand wrap up 2-0 after Bangladesh implosion

CRICKET-NZL-BAN

Neil Wagner was one of three New Zealand quicks to take three-fors in Bangladesh’s second-innings collapse © AFP

For the second time in successive Test matches, Bangladesh imploded in the second innings after holding their own in a neck-and-neck first innings battle. Once again, their batsmen played a significant role in their own downfall. Having started the day on level terms, they conceded a lead of 65, before collapsing spectacularly in their second innings, with the bulk of their batsmen gifting New Zealand their wicket.

Set a target of 109, New Zealand romped to a nine-wicket win in 18.4 overs, with the promotion of Colin de Grandhomme – who struck an unbeaten 33 off 15 balls, with four sixes including two in two balls off Nazmul Hossain Shanto to seal the win – ensuring they completed the job on the fourth day itself, some ten minutes into the half-hour extension.

After a third day lost to rain, the fourth had begun with Henry Nicholls falling two short of a maiden Test hundred and helping New Zealand gain a first-innings lead of 65. It was a useful lead, but only that. Given New Zealand had to bat last, the match was still in the balance when Bangladesh began their second innings towards the tail-end of an extended first session. By tea, however, they were halfway through yet another second-innings meltdown, and were 100 for 5 – effectively 35 for 5 – with only one of their wickets falling to a defensive shot.

Bangladesh lost Tamim Iqbal inside the 10 overs they needed to bat out before lunch, the stand-in captain top-edging a hook off Tim Southee. After the break came a period of calm, with Soumya Sarkar stroking the ball fluently and Mahmudullah defending resolutely during a second-wicket stand of 41. With Bangladesh seven runs short of wiping out their deficit, though, Sarkar attempted to steer Colin de Grandhomme to third man – a risky proposition given three fielders in the cordon – and middled the ball to gully.

Shakib Al Hasan edged his first ball between second slip and gully, trying a similar open-faced steer, and reached out a long way from his body to try and cut the next ball. Raval put down a straightforward low chance. If anyone thought that moment would cause Shakib to thank his lucky stars and knuckle down, they were wrong; having only faced four more balls, he tried to cut Southee without making any attempt to keep the ball down, and guided the ball straight to backward point.

Ten overs later, Mahmudullah – who had seen off a period of good-length bowling and another of short-pitched bowling from Southee and Neil Wagner – tried to drive Wagner on the up, and chopped on. By now it looked as if the next wicket could come off any ball. Walking down the pitch to de Grandhomme, Nazmul Hossain Shanto somehow survived despite playing a series of wafts outside off. Sabbir Rahman swished and missed twice, while still on 0, against Wagner.

Something had to give, and finally a wicket came off a wicket-taking ball, off what turned out to be the last ball before tea, Sabbir caught behind off the shoulder of his bat when Wagner got one to rise awkwardly in the corridor.

Within 7.3 overs of the final session, 100 for 5 had become 115 for 8, with the short ball sending off Nurul Hasan and Mehedi Hasan either side of a scorching Trent Boult yorker that took out Nazmul’s middle stump. Then came Bangladesh’s biggest partnership – 51 in eight overs – as Taskin Ahmed and Kamrul Islam Rabbi backed away from their stumps and swung at New Zealand’s overdone short-ball attack, before Boult ended it with another yorker. Southee ensured each of New Zealand’s three frontline quicks finished with three-fors, Rubel Hossain top-edging a pull to the keeper. Bangladesh had only lasted 52.5 overs in their final innings of the tour.

How different things had been at the start of the day’s play, with New Zealand 260 for 7 in their first innings, trailing by 29 runs. They turned that deficit into a lead of 65 thanks to Nicholls, who added 30 for the eighth wicket with Tim Southee and 57 for the ninth with Neil Wagner.

Runs flowed freely at the start of the day’s play, with 20 coming off the first four overs, and Mehedi giving New Zealand a helping hand by dropping Southee at second slip off Kamrul. It didn’t prove too costly, with Southee only adding two runs to his score before driving Shakib Al Hasan uppishly to short extra-cover, where Mehedi made amends with a sharp grab.

Bangladesh’s next fielding lapse, however, was more expensive. Extra bounce from Taskin Ahmed with the second new ball forced Wagner to fend to gully, where Nazmul put down a regulation chance. Next ball, Taskin had a loud lbw appeal upheld after straightening one into the left-hander from right-arm over, only for a review to earn the batsman the most marginal of reprieves, with the ball falling millimeters foul of the thin line between “pitching outside leg stump” and “umpire’s call”.

Nicholls was already in his groove by then, driving Kamrul for successive fours either side of cover, and Wagner joined in the fun with glances to the fine leg boundary when Taskin and Rubel Hossain strayed onto his legs. Then, with a century in sight, Nicholls came down the track to Mehedi, got too close to the pitch of the ball, and dragged an attempted cover drive back into his stumps off the bottom edge. Trent Boult then lofted Mehedi for a big six over long-on, before the innings ended in unusual circumstances, with Wagner run out when he was past the crease but airborne.

 

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