Draw on the cards after Gazi ton
WELCOME THE HERO: Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (C) and other members of the team congratulate Shohag Gazi (L) as he returns to dressing room after hitting a century against New Zealand on the fourth day of the first Test in Chittagong yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
When Shohag Gazi and Abdur Razzak strode out on the fourth morning of the first Test at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday, Bangladesh were still 89 runs behind. And with only three wickets left, not many expected the hosts to put in a good effort with the bat. But a maiden Test century from Gazi ensured that Bangladesh took a 32-run lead and, barring an unlikely collapse, achieve only their ninth draw. When stumps were drawn because of rain at 3:30pm, one hour before the scheduled close, the visitors had reached 117 for one in their second innings with a lead of 85. Play will start at 9am today to make up for the lost time as the match heads for a draw.
They lost Hamish Rutherford (34) -- who was trapped in front by Nasir Hossain while attempting a sweep -- in the 23rd over. Peter Fulton (44) and Kane Williamson (28) took the visitors past the 100-mark and to stumps.
Gazi's brilliant effort, which included three sixes and ten boundaries, changed the script of Bangladesh's innings as they posted 501 -- only the third time that Bangladesh crossed the 500 mark in Tests. He was ably supported by Robiul Islam (33), with whom he shared a stand worth 105 runs for the ninth wicket.
Gazi paced his innings to perfection. Initially he was content to be defending a majority of the deliveries and seeing off maiden overs. However, once his partner Razzak was sent back to the pavilion in the fifth over of the day, Gazi decided to up the tempo.
He began by hitting Doug Bracewell for two boundaries in the sixth over of the day and continued to hit at least one boundary an over. The off-spinner reached his maiden 50 in style by dispatching a full Corey Anderson delivery straight back past the bowler.
From there Gazi played with no pressure whatsoever; particularly because Robiul batted with a compact defensive technique at the other end.
Slow left-armer Bruce Martin was brought on and Gazi welcomed him by coming down the track and hitting him for a six over long off. Leg spinner Ishant Sodhi too was not spared as he hit him for three boundaries.
Gazi however, did enjoy a good share of fortune. He was dropped twice; the first was on 65 by Martin who dropped a caught and bowled opportunity off a full toss and the second was by Trent Boult on 93, when the bowler was unable to latch on to a drive from the batsman.
There was a brief lull when Gazi was in his 90s. He wanted to reach his 100 before lunch but could not execute his shots properly.
Immediately after lunch Robiul was caught at slips off a top edge. Gazi needed just three runs at that point and he faced anxious moments.
However, he got the strike in the next over and just like his half-century, brought up his first hundred in style with a brilliant cut through gully for four.
The stirring lower order fightback and the resultant lead drove New Zealand's intentions of forcing a win -- with which they started the day -- to the background. Even if rain does not play a part tomorrow, the likelihood of New Zealand getting a large enough lead and then having enough time to bowl Bangladesh out is slim.