WELLINGTON: Mominul Haque and Tamim Iqbal plundered the New Zealand attack to have Bangladesh 154 for three at stumps on a rain-disrupted opening day of the first Test in Wellington yesterday. New Zealand were all smiles when they won the toss and put Bangladesh into bat in prime bowling conditions. But at the end of the day after rain and bad light had restricted play to 40.2 overs, it was Bangladesh with their heads held high. Mominul was unbeaten on 64 at the close and Shakib Al Hasan on five after being dropped on four.
Opener Tamim went for 56. “Today was Bangladesh’s day,” New Zealand seamer Neil Wagner conceded, blaming the bowling unit for not making the most of the conditions. “We didn’t do that. We missed a little bit and we got hurt.” Wagner said the New Zealand seamers need to bowl a better line on Friday to get into the match. “We’re going to have to find a way. We know if we put the ball in the right area for a period of time and build that pressure and bowl consistently in partnerships you can get two, three, four wickets quickly.”
Tamim, who led the way for Bangladesh with his aggressive approach, said the tourists were happy with the state of the game. “History says the first innings is really difficult on this wicket and not too many runs have been scored by the best of teams. In that case we handled it pretty well,” he said. “We are very new to this wind so at times we had to stop the bowlers because it was too heavy.
There were seven, eight occasions when the bails fell down. For us it was difficult because we haven’t faced this situation before but still we played really well.” The overcast weather, strong wind and green wicket at the Basin Reserve suggested a bowler’s paradise at the start of the day, but the conditions proved not as threatening as first thought. Instead the bowlers, particularly Trent Boult in the early overs, had trouble keeping their balance and control in the wind-with gusts of up to 120 kilometers per hour. The wind sent the bails, players’ caps and sunglasses flying and forced the television cameramen to vacate their tower at the exposed end of the ground, but it could not stop Tamim and Mominul cashing in.
Tamim only faced 50 deliveries for his whirlwind 56, which included 11 boundaries, while Mominul has 10 fours and a six to his name. Tamim was particularly tough on Boult at the start of the day and New Zealand’s new-ball specialist, with the wind behind him, was pulled out of the attack after three overs which cost 26 runs of which Tamim had 25.
But Boult had the final say in their battle when play resumed after the first rain break as he trapped Tamim lbw in the first over of his second spell. Mominul, who has scored two centuries in four previous innings against New Zealand, had been circumspect until the rain arrived for a second time 89 minutes into the middle session. The left-hander launched into Tim Southee with two fours and a top-edge that flew over the wicketkeeper’s head for six before the players left the field. —AFP