Vettori made the difference - Ashraful
Bangladesh came close to clinching their first Test victory against New Zealand but, despite being in control for the majority of the match, the hosts slipped to defeat by three wickets in Chittagong. Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said that his team played "really well" but added that New Zealand's ability to avoid their first-innings mistakes made the difference during their chase of 317.
"We had a pretty good chance of winning and, on an individual level, I thought Shakib Al Hasan bowled and batted wonderfully well, Mushfiqur Rahim made runs in both innings and Tamim Iqbal got starts in both innings," Ashraful said. "The difference between the two sides was Daniel Vettori who was brilliant with the bat and ball. Also they [New Zealand] planned their second innings really well and did not repeat the mistakes they did in the first innings."
Unlike his counterpart Vettori, who took nine wickets and scored two vital half-centuries, Ashraful had a poor match, scoring 2 and 0, and fell to Vettori in both innings. "I have played match-winning knocks in most of Bangladesh's big wins in one-day cricket but it hasn't happened for me in Tests yet. I tried my best but wasn't successful," Ashraful said. "There is another Test in this series and I will continue to try and hopefully it will happen in the future.
New Zealand began the day needing 172 to win with eight wickets in hand. At one stage they needed 101 with only five wickets remaining but Vettori steered his team home with a calm 76. Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, felt that the visitors had "learned their lessons pretty well" after being dismissed for 171 in the first innings.
"They [New Zealand] planned well, didn't play any unnecessary shots and made us [work] for every wicket," Siddons said. "They batted with discipline and didn't give us any chances. Hopefully our guys can learn a bit from that, especially our top-order.
"Having outbatted them and bowled so well in the first innings makes me happy. Everything's looking good with young guys like Mehrab [Hossain jr] and Shakib, and we'll get Ashraful and Zunaed (Siddique) to play well. I need all the guys to play well in the one game but at the moment we are a little inconsistent."
Siddons praised left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak's performance in the second innings. Razzak bowled 50 overs and took 3 for 93. "He tied up an end beautifully for us and bowled at two an over," Siddons said. "He stretched the game out which you have to do when you have 300 on the board. He made them work very hard for their runs. He got a couple of wickets but we didn't quite get enough from the other end."
Siddons hoped that his team would be able to catch New Zealand "on the hop" in Dhaka where the pitch "stays low and plays tricks". The second Test begins on October 25 at the Shere-e-Bangla Stadium.