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The Bulletin by Chandrahas Choudhury
October 27, 2004
Bangladesh 82 for 3 (Omar 45*, Vettori 2-23) trail New Zealand 545 for 6 dec (Fleming 202, Styris 89, Marshall 69) by 463 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
New Zealand made good progress towards victory on the second day of the Chittagong Test, adding 207 to their first-day score in two sessions and then taking three Bangladesh wickets for 82 in the third. Stephen Fleming was the pivotal figure for the second successive day, moving from his overnight score of 137 to 202, his second double-hundred in Tests, before timing his declaration perfectly.
Fleming began the day with his sights clearly set on a double-hundred, but he found it hard going, especially as his partners were of little help. He added only 48 in the first session, at one point resorting to the reverse-sweep against Enamul Haque jr. to keep the scoreboard moving. But after lunch, tiring after more than seven hours at the crease, he moved to his double-hundred with a flurry of strokes. A few balls later he drove Rajin Saleh uppishly and was caught by Mushfiqur at cover for 202 (447 for 5). Fleming clearly enjoys batting in the subcontinent: he made a monumental 274 not out last year to help draw a Test in Sri Lanka - probably a more crucial innings, even if this one was likely to set up a victory for his team.
The Bangladesh bowlers would happily admit that Fleming was too good for them. But they were probably less pleased at conceding a half-century to Hamish Marshall who, but for some profitable moments against the appetising offspin of Saleh, looked as if he was batting on a minefield. Coming in early in the day after the persevering Mohammad Rafique dismissed Nathan Astle (364 for 4), Marshall played back first ball to Rafique, was squared up by the turn, and was struck plumb in front. But Daryl Harper, the umpire, turned down the appeal, and Marshall proceeded to bat - bat, that is, in the sense of not get out - for nearly two sessions.
Marshall's innings gave some inkling of just how difficult life could be for an inexperienced batsman when confronted with good-quality spin bowling. He kept playing down the line of deliveries from the left-arm spinners turning across him, which, given the line of attack on leg stump, entailed playing out in front of his pad - a chink also revealed by Mathew Sinclair yesterday when he was bowled by Rafique. But he survived somehow and kept going. By the time he was out, via a leading edge off Enamul as he tried, not for the first time, to play against the spin, he had made 69 (517 for 6). Since he made 40 not out in his only Test almost four years ago, this gives him a current Test average of 109, a figure that cannot go anywhere but down.
Marshall's troubles meant that New Zealand could not raise the scoring rate in the manner they would have liked. Although Fleming rotated the strike competently for his part, he lost it for long periods as Astle and Marshall battled the left-arm spinners, who bowled 97 overs between them in the innings. New Zealand probably erred in leaving Brendon McCullum, who made a strokeful and enterprising 143 in the first Test, as low down as No.8. McCullum came in ten minutes before tea and promptly began where he left off at Dhaka, hitting three boundaries before tea arrived and with it the declaration.
Javed Omar and Nafis Iqbal started as confidently as the New Zealand openers had on the first morning. Nafis took a particular liking to the bowling of James Franklin, striking him for three boundaries, and Omar had a slice of luck when McCullum put down an edged slash off Jacob Oram. The batsman proceeded to add insult to injury by pulling Oram for two boundaries. Oram seemed still to be preoccupied with the miss when a few overs later he let a sweep through his legs at deep square leg.
But it was not long before Fleming introduced Vettori, who took a career-best 6 for 28 in the second innings at Dhaka, and the bowler struck immediately. He defeated Nafis's defensive push with a delivery that bounced and took the shoulder of the bat, and was caught by a diving Scott Styris at gully (34 for 1). The debutant Aftab Ahmed then played some pleasing strokes in his 20, especially off the bowling of Paul Wiseman, before he played back to Vettori and was lbw (66 for 2).
Omar was restrained against the spinners, and though Vettori spun a number of balls past his outside edge, he seemed set to see out the day in the company of Rajin Saleh. But in the final over of the day Saleh pushed forward to Wiseman, and was caught off bat and pad at silly point to complete a satisfying day for New Zealand.
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