Bangladesh’s bowlers ensured that their team ended the first day of the Mount Maunganui Test feeling they are still in the hunt. It is not how they have usually bowled in this country, particularly in the last four years when they have visited frequently.
What left many surprised was how accurate the Bangladesh bowlers were in the first hour and how they came back to take three wickets when the momentum seemed to have gone away to restrict New Zealand to 258 for 5.
Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam, probably the ideal new-ball pair among Bangladesh’s current crop of fast bowlers, conceded just one run in the first 7.3 overs, in which Shoriful removed Tom Latham and set forth a testing first hour for Devon Conway and Will Young.
The pair added 138 runs in a fighting second-wicket stand, but even though New Zealand looked to have gone into a position of strength, the late wickets of centurion Conway and Tom Blundell was again a reminder from the Bangladesh bowlers that they remained an interested party.
Fast bowling coach Ottis Gibson said that his bowlers could have been further rewarded if they had luck on their side.
“I think the fast bowlers bowled well in difficult conditions,” Gibson said. “They toiled really hard. It is hot today. I thought we were brilliant with the new ball. We pitched the ball up, swung it and beat the bat on numerous occasions. We could have had a few more wickets. We are playing against the best team in the world. There was a close lbw shout against Devon Conway. On another day, it is given out. Those are the small margins in international cricket. I am quite proud of the way the boys battled and kept going all day.”
Gibson said they worked hard on bowling full deliveries that swung, a factor that often goes missing when they play Tests at home. “We have been working on swinging the ball a lot. I think you will see everyone swung the ball at some point today. We tend to bowl back of length in Bangladesh because we don’t get much swing there. Here, we pitched the ball up quite a lot fuller. We have been working hard since getting off the plane in Christchurch.”
Shoriful took two wickets while EbadotHossain had one late in the day. But there were no wickets for Taskin, who bowled 20 overs. However, it was Taskin’s opening burst that troubled New Zealand, and contributed to Latham’s wicket. Gibson said that he would tell Taskin to be more patient.
That’s Test cricket – that’s what I tell him. You will not get wickets every day. But tomorrow there’s still five wickets to get. Maybe he can get three or four wickets, after getting himself freshened up. He bowled very well today.”
Shoriful, too, was satisfied with how the day went overall and was looking forward to continuing in the same manner on the second day. “We would have been happier had we taken a couple of more wickets,” he said. “But still the day went well. It was great to bowl in the first hour, there was enough movement and swing. The wicket got a bit flat after lunch, so I pulled back the length to curb their scoring.
“The Conway wicket was important. Mominul bhai got us the breakthrough. We will now try to keep their run rate low, and get them bowled out on the second day.”