Matthew Bell scored an unbeaten half-century in his first Test appearance in more than six years to ram home New Zealand’s advantage over Bangladesh on the opening day of the first Test in Dunedin on Friday.
Bell made 74 not out to help the Kiwis recover from a slow start and reach stumps on 156-4 in reply to Bangladesh’s miserable first-innings total of 137.
New Zealand seamer Chris Martin captured four wickets and all-rounder Jacob Oram three as the tourists collapsed to be all out before tea at the University Oval in Dunedin, which is hosting a Test for the first time.
The Kiwis lost four early wickets in their reply but Bell ensured they finished the day with a useful 19-run lead and six wickets in hand.
Martin dismissed Junaid Siddique (one), Habibul Bashar (23) and Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful for a golden duck in his first spell before removing teenage opener Tamin Iqbal for 53 after lunch.
However, the bowler said his efforts would be wasted if the batsmen failed to cash in.
”We’re a couple more wickets down than we’d have wanted,” Martin told a news conference.
”A couple of guys have got to fill their boots and make the most of a good surface.”
Iqbal celebrated his Test debut with an impressive half-century but his dismissal triggered a lower-order collapse with the last four wickets tumbling for just eight runs.
”We need to make bigger scores if we’re going to competitive,” Bangladesh’s Australian coach Jamie Siddons said.
”Every player that got past the first couple of overs looked comfortable until they got out. That seems to be the pattern at the moment.”
Bangladesh, who have won just one of their 49 Tests against all opponents, were in immediate trouble after being sent into bat first when Siddique departed in the third over, caught by Stephen Fleming at slip.
Bashar and Iqbal briefly steadied the innings with a brisk 38-run partnership in less than seven overs before Bashar, whose cameo innings featured two sixes over third man, edged Martin to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.
Ashraful was trapped lbw off the first delivery of Martin’s next over when he failed to offer a shot with the total on 47, prompting fears of a major collapse.
Nafees survived the hat-trick and contributed a patient 16 off 50 balls but threw his wicket away when he bottom-edged an attempted sweep off Daniel Vettori.
Iqbal, who earned his place in the starting line-up after making a century in the tour game against Auckland, struck nine boundaries to bring up his maiden Test half-century before he departed and the innings quickly fell apart.
New Zealand also lost an early wicket when opener Craig Cumming was trapped lbw for one by debutant seamer Sajidul Islam.
Peter Fulton (14), Stephen Fleming (14) and Mathew Sinclair (29) all made starts but failed to capitalise, leaving Bell and Oram to battle through to stumps. — Reuters