The highest partnership in Test cricket of 359 runs for Bangladesh between Shakib Al Hasan and captain Mushfiqur Rahim took the tourists to a commanding score of 542 for 7 against New Zealand in the first Test at Wellington today.
Tigers allrounder struck his maiden double ton in Test cricket, and he went back to the pavilion to a standing ovation with 217 to his name, Bangladesh’s first innings total on alien conditions seemed more than just the numbers on the scoreboard. Shakib's 217 is now the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Tests, eclipsing Tamim Iqbal's 206 against Pakistan in 2015.
Mushfiqur played his part in the highest fifth wicket stand against the Black Caps with his majestic 159 from 260 balls as the tourists took the game by the scruff of the neck with belligerent batting from both ends. Shakib smashed 31 fours in his knock of 217 while Mushy hammered 23 fours and a six in his second highest score in Tests.
The Shakib-Mushfiq show came to an end in the 126th over, when Trent Boult got Mushfiqur to play a lazy shot away from the body. However, Bangladesh got the platform they needed to make a mark in Test cricket, especially by performing away from home.
Shakib was dismissed in the 132th over by Neil Wagner, and he perished 10 minutes before stumps. The allrounder played the ball onto the stumps, and didn’t look too fresh after he crossed 200. Mehedi Hasan Miraz was the last wicket to fall before stumps on day 2, and he was sent back for a 13-ball duck. Mehedi was guilty of pushing away from the body and paid the ultimate price.
For the hosts, Neil Wagner took three wickets while Trent Boult and Tim Southee captured two wickets each.
Earlier, twin tons from all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim took Bangladesh to 391 for four at tea on the second day, a position of dominance from which the tourists can really turn the screws on hosts New Zealand.
Shakib went to the tea break on an unbeaten 126 off 168 balls with 18 boundaries. Mushfiqur was not far behind with an unbeaten 201-ball 112, also with 18 hits to the fence.
The 231-run unbeaten fifth-wicket stand is Bangladesh’s highest for any wicket against New Zealand, and 36 runsbehind Bangladesh’s record fifth-wicket stand against all comers held by Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2013.
Both batsmen put the New Zealand attack to the sword by punishing any width offered by the bowlers with Mushfiqur unfurling some fine cover and square drives while Shakib imperiously cut to the third man and point boundaries.
Shakib reached his fourth Test hundred and second in New Zealand off the 150th ball he faced, which he tucked behind square leg for a single, in the 90th over from Neil Wagner. Before that he survived a spell of nerves in the 80s when New Zealand took the second new ball, playing and missing at a few deliveries and also edging a few through the slips. But he, along with Mushfiqur, was clinical in dispatching anything loose, thus taking frontline bowlers Tim Southee and Boult out of the equation.
Mushfiqur also endured a nervous spell in his 80s with Boult swinging the new ball in from around the wicket. He enjoyed a moment of fortune on 78 when, in the 85 th over, a ball from Boult took his inside edge and brushed the leg bail without dislodging it on way to the fine leg fence.
He eventually reached his fourth Test century in the 97 th over when he edged his 179 th delivery to the third man boundary. It was a session that saw 122 runs scored without the loss of a wicket in 26 overs.
Earlier, Bangladesh reached the lunch break on 269 for four having added 115 runs to their overnight score for the loss of Mominul Haque, who could not add to his overnight score of 64 before being caught behind off a snorter from Tim Southee in the third over of the day.
But from then on, both Shakib and Mushfiqur showed immense discipline against a barrage of short-pitched bowling from Neil Wagner and searching spells from Southee and Colin de Grandhomme. In sunny conditions totally at odds with the inclement weather of the first day, New Zealand’s bowlers found their mark more often than they did the day before.