Shakib leaves New Zealand in tatters
Shakib Al Hasan's six-wicket haul helped Bangladesh reach a dominant position at the end of the second day of the first Test in Chittagong. The left-arm spinner took 6 for 31 off 24 overs, the best bowling figures for a Bangladesh player against New Zealand; at one stage, he had New Zealand reeling at 100 for 7, but captain Daniel Vettori made an unbeaten 48 to take his team to 155 for 9, still trailing by 90 on the first innings.
Vettori had earlier completed his fourth five-for against the hosts to restrict Bangladesh, resuming on 183 for 4. But New Zealand squandered the good work, losing nine wickets in the final three hours of the play. For much of that time they were at serious risk of entering the record books as the team to score the lowest total in the first innings in a Test against Bangladesh.
Shakib, whose six previous Tests had brought just three wickets, was the wrecker-in-chief. Most of his deliveries were on a perfect line and length, and enticed the batsmen on to the front foot. What the batsmen found difficult was his change of pace and ability to turn the ball on a slightly deteriorating pitch.
Bangladesh's spinners took charge once their new-ball bowlers bowled a restrictive spell. Openers Jamie How and Aaron Redmond found it difficult to score runs, with few loose balls coming their way, but didn't seem to be looking for runs either. The first ten overs produced ten scoring shots; the first hour saw the visitors reach 25 without loss.
Scoring was even more difficult against the spinners, with New Zealand's batsmen struggling against the turning ball and adopting a defensive approach. How, Jesse Ryder and Jacob Oram were all caught close-in as fielders surrounded the bat, while Ross Taylor and Redmond were trapped lbw while trying to defend against turning deliveries.
As wickets tumbled, a partnership of note was desperately needed. But it never arrived. The best effort was 47 between Daniel Flynn and Brendon McCullum. Both made starts, but neither carried on to post the big score that their team so desperately needed. Flynn was caught behind off Naeem Islam for 19 to give the debutant his first Test scalp. McCullum was deceived by the pace of a delivery from Shakib, spooning the ball down the throat of mid-on.
Ironically, it was up to a spin bowler to show any fight in the New Zealand tail. After taking 5 for 59, Vettori looked to possess the frame of mind lacking in his team-mates when he entered the crease after the loss of the sixth wicket. He began sensibly, maintaining his wicket but always looking to make runs, and finished unbeaten on 48.
It wasn't just New Zealand who had problems with spin. A record fifth-wicket stand had given Bangladesh hope after the first day, but they could only push to 245 from 183 for 4. Iain O'Brien deceived Mehrab Hossain jnr, resuming on 79, with a slower delivery. However, it was not until 30 minutes before lunch they collapsed. Vettori ripped through the lower order, and offspinner Jeetan Patel chipped in with two of his own. The only batsman of note was Mushfiqur Rahim, who added 20 to his overnight score of 59 before he became another victim of Vettori.
Of the 15 wickets that fell on the day, only one - that of Mehrab, the first in the day - was claimed by a fast bowler. With the cracks on the pitch worsening, New Zealand will need to dismiss the opposition for a low score if they are to avoid becoming the second team to be beaten in a Test by Bangladesh.
Peter Burdon is a cricket writer based in New Zealand