New Zealand v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Wellington, 4th day March 11, 2019

Ross Taylor double-ton gives New Zealand a shot at victory

Ross Taylor scored his third double-century in Tests © Getty Images

Bangladesh 211 and 80 for 3 (Shadman 29, Mithun 25*, Boult 2-34) trail New Zealand 432 for 6 dec (Taylor 200, Nicholls 107, Williamson 74, Jayed 3-94) by 141 runs

On an emotional day when he went past the Test-hundreds tally of his mentor, the late, great Martin Crowe, Ross Taylor gave New Zealand a real shot at victory - and a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series - in a Test match that has lost two full days to rain. Over the course of 150-plus stands with Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, who made his fifth Test hundred, Taylor defied the two hurdles that stood before New Zealand at the start of day four: time, and a green, seaming Basin Reserve surface.

New Zealand declared soon after Taylor brought up his third double-hundred in Tests - he was dismissed on 200 - their pace of scoring - 5.09 runs per over - allowing them to take a 221-run first-innings lead and still leave Bangladesh 23 overs to negotiate on the fourth evening.

Those 23 overs didn't go too well for the visitors. Trent Boult ripped out Tamim Iqbal in the first over with one that seamed back in after shaping away in the air, and followed it up with a peach to have Mominul Haque squared up and nicking to third slip. Then Matt Henry, coming on as first change, bounced out Shadman Islam, who had batted positively until then to make 29. Mohammad Mithun and Soumya Sarkar batted out the remaining 8.4 overs of the day to ensure no more wickets fell, and Bangladesh ended the day needing another 141 runs to avoid a second innings defeat in a row.

New Zealand began day four at 38 for 2 - they had been 8 for 2 late on the third evening - trailing by 173 on a pitch that was offering both seam movement and inconsistent bounce, and Bangladesh's seamers made life difficult for Taylor and Williamson early on, beating the edges regularly and finding disconcerting bounce, and came agonisingly close to breaking the partnership in the third full over of the day. But this was where Taylor and Williamson, who came into this game with 162 Tests between them, made their experience count against Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman, who had played a combined 17.

Jayed, who had dismissed both openers on the third evening, came close to adding the wicket of Taylor twice in his second over of the morning. First Taylor drove away from his body at a wide outswinger, and sent the ball at catchable height to the left of short extra-cover, where Mahmudullah failed to hold on. Then he poked at an away-seamer and sent an edge low to the left of second slip. This was a more difficult chance, but Shadman would reckon he should have taken it, considering he got both hands to the ball.

Taylor had shown his intent to play his shots right from the time he arrived at the crease, and he didn't let these two chances change his game. There were a few more moments of uncertainty as the first hour wound down, as the ball continued to nip around and bounce towards the splice of the bat, but scoring opportunities began to arrive more frequently as the new-ball pair began to tire. Ebadot fed Taylor's square cut on a couple of occasions, and then offered up an over-pitched ball that he sent whistling past the umpire with the full face of his bat showing.

Trent Boult crashed through Tamim Iqbal's defences in the first over of Bangladesh's innings © Getty Images

At the other end, Williamson was putting on a masterclass of batting through pain. He had hurt his left shoulder on the third day diving at gully, and he required the physio's attention a couple of times during his innings. Often he pulled his left hand away from his bat handle after playing the ball, wincing at the impact, and top-hand dominant shots like his trademark off-drive were largely out of the question.

So he found other ways to score, sitting on the back foot even to fairly full balls, playing late and using the pace of the ball. Fifty of his 74 runs came behind the wicket, mostly in the arc from fine third man to deep backward point, and the shot that brought up his half-century - a pulled four off Mustafizur - was his first scoring shot in front of square on the leg side. This wasn't the prettiest or most in-control innings of Williamson's career - he was particularly troubled by Mustafizur's left-arm-over angle - but it was an innings of great know-how in challenging circumstances.

Williamson beat Taylor to the half-century mark, but thereafter Taylor found an extra gear and began racing away from his partner with a flurry of boundaries, the most audacious of them a flicked six off Jayed, Taylor was particularly severe on Soumya, whose gentle medium-pace had dismissed him in the first Test, lbw playing around his front pad. In the search for an encore, Bangladesh used Soumya in a six-over spell before lunch, and Taylor toyed with him, driving him wide of mid-off and lofting him over mid-on, in all scoring 28 off 20 balls against the part-timer.

Williamson fell 20 minutes before tea, popping back a return catch while trying to work Taijul Islam against the turn. Taylor brought up his hundred in Taijul's next over, stepping out and launching the left-arm spinner for a six over long-on.

New Zealand went into the lead soon after lunch, and Bangladesh went into the defensive with their fields. The runs flowed easily against the deep-set fields, and Nicholls scored his runs almost imperceptibly for large swathes of his innings - by tea he had taken 11 twos - bursting into prominence when he brought up his fifty with three fours in an over off Mustafizur - two pulls and a scorching straight drive.

The runs kept flowing thereafter. New Zealand clattered 60 runs in 53 balls after tea, losing three wickets in the search for quick runs, including those of Taylor and Nicholls soon after they reached their respective landmarks.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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