Hosts New Zealand ended the second day of the first Test just as they had started it -- on top -- as they managed to reach 451 for four at close at Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday. With Bangladesh scoring just 234 on the first day, New Zealand have all but batted the tourists out of the match with a 217-run lead that is all set to swell further today.
While almost everything went according to plan for the Kiwis, Bangladesh -- who are already on the back foot in the game -- could see their chances of staging a comeback get even slimmer after today's third day.
Bangladesh opted to go with an inexperienced pace unit comprising Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed and Abu Jayed as Mustafizur Rahman was given a rest to keep the ace left-arm quick fresh for the second Test in Wellington. While Ebadot made his debut, Khaled and Jayed are just playing their second and fourth Tests respectively.
Although the way Kiwis batted -- with sheer patience, concentration and intent -- was exemplary, it also brought the perils of playing with an amateur pace unit to the fore. The aforementioned pacers went wicket-less on the day as among the four wickets that were scalped by Bangladesh, only one was taken by a regular bowler -- off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz. Meanwhile, part-timers Soumya Sarkar and stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad accounted for the rest, as the former took two and Mahmudullah scalped one.
However, it would be harsh to put all the blame on the pacers as the Kiwi batsmen did just everything by the book and the four wickets that fell were probably due to the batsmen relaxing against the non-specialists.
Another thing that was noticeable on the day was how the green pitch had lost its lustre and transformed to a completely different surface to that seen on the first day.. With skipper Kane Williamson remaining unbeaten on 93 and the Kiwis resuming with six wickets in hand, Bangladesh could see a mammoth total being posted.
However, this is also not the most frightening part for Bangladesh. Head curator Karl Johnson had earlier mentioned that the pitch would ideally be difficult for batsmen on the fourth and fifth days -- when Bangladesh are most likely to bat in their second innings. And if we take into consideration how the curator's words have proven right till now as he was also right about how the green-top would simmer down to help the batsmen too, it can be said that the Test has just become more difficult for the visitors.