Opener Imrul Kayes was stretchered off the ground with pain after scoring 24 in an opening stand of 46 with Tamim Iqbal and his departure sparked a Bangladesh second innings collapse in the final session on the fourth day of the opening Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve today.
The left-hander, who stood behind the wicket for nearly five sessions in the absence of injured Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, was taking a sharp single when he injured his left thigh. He was in agony and was taken to a hospital where the X-Ray report confirmed that there was no fracture. But he was not in a position to walk without any support when he returned from the hospital at around 9pm.
His departure suddenly changed the complexion of the game and Bangladesh, who were nicely building on a crucial 56-run first -innings lead after the home team were all out for 539, collapsed to 66 for three at stumps on the fourth day.
To be honest vice-captain Tamim Iqbal pressed the self-destruct button when he injudiciously tried to cut left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner of the back foot against an incoming delivery and was bowled for 25, leaving Bangladesh at 50-1.
After the departure of Imrul in the 13th over of a possible 23 overs of day’s play, it was expected from Tamim to play more sensibly. But his reverse sweep in the next over after Imrul’s departure and that dreadful late cut after one delivery was uncalled for.
A nervous Mahmudullah than departed for five-- he was caught down the leg side off Neil Wagner. He has so far showed that he is very uncomfortable against short-pitched deliveries just above the rib-cage that the Black Caps bowlers exploited during the limited-overs series.
Bangladesh were reduced to 63 for two and it soon turned 66 for three when nightwatchman Mehedi Hasan Miraz was run out in a hopeless way. He set off for a second run which has never been there and by the time he backtracked to regain his crease a direct hit from Santner dislodged the wickets at the non-striker’s end.
Thankfully umpires called it a day after his dismissal and Bangladesh finished their second innings with a lead of 122 runs and seven wickets remaining going into an interesting fifth and final day.
Earlier, New Zealand were bowled out for 539 but not before Mitchell Santner hit a career-best 73 that allowed the home side to run close to Bangladesh’s huge 595 for eight declared deep into the final session on the fourth day.
Santner hit some lusty blows after Kamrul Islam Rabbi put out the misery of Neil Wegner, who was struck twice on the helmet before top-edging an attempted pull that sub-wicketkeeper Imral Kayes took comfortably. It was the fifth catch for Imrul which interestingly is Test record for a sub keeper.
Earlier, Mahmudullah Riyad popped up in the horizon with two wickets as Bangladesh opened up a considerable first innings lead against New Zealand going into the final session.
The occasional off-spinner struck with the very first ball with a harmless delivery that was going down the leg side. BJ Watling on 49, who had dominated a 73-run seven wicket stand with Mitchell Santner, went for a pull shot but somehow got his gloves in the way of the ball.
A smart Imrul Kayes behind the wicket took it beautifully and appealed for a caught behind. But the umpire was unmoved and the stand-in keeper promptly asked for a review, which confirmed the dismissal.
Mahmudullah then struck with his fifth delivery, a simple lbw decision against Tim Southee for 1. The home side quickly were reduced to 473-8, 122 runs behind Bangladesh’s imposing 595-8 declared.
They went for tea at 492-8.
Earlier, Shakib Al Hasan struck for a second time and it was opener Tom Latham. Batting on 177 and only 23 runs away from a maiden double hundred, the left-handed opener swept the ball but missed it completely and was adjudged leg before.
It was Latham’s highest Test score, beating his previous best of 137.
The home side were reduced to 398-6, still 197 runs behind Bangladesh's imposing total of 595-8 declared.
The first session turned very fruitful for Bangladesh as they took three wickets at the Basin Reserve. The home side scored 110 runs in the session and went for lunch at 402-6.
Shakib struck in the first hour when the left-arm spinner removed Henry Nicholls for 53. The New Zealand middle-order batsman was caught at leg slip by Mehedi hasan Miraz. His dismissal ended the 142-run third wicket stand with Latham.
At 347-4, the home side lost another wicket after adding another 19 runs to the total. This time debutant right-arm pacer Shubhashis Roy got his first Test wicket by removing Colin de Grandhomme after the batsman had hit him for a four and a six over deep square leg.
It was a full delivery and de Grandhomme wanted to thrash it through the cover but could only manage an inside edge to Imrul Kayes behind the wicket after making 16. New Zealand were 366-5.
Bangladesh took the second new ball after 80 over but the pacers failed to make any impact on a day which was mostly cloudy, with a possibility of rain. New Zealand resumed the day on 292-3 in reply to Bangladesh’s massive first innings total 595-8 declared.