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December 29, 2001
New Zealand's expected dominance over Bangladesh in their two-Test series was emphatically completed today when the visitors were beaten by an innings and 74 runs at Wellington's Basin Reserve.
It was the most disappointing batting effort of the four innings Bangladesh have had in the series. All out for 135, their total was inflated by a lower order blast of pinch hitting by medium fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, who showed more speed of foot and thinking than any of his top order players to squirt 29 runs off 21 balls, to save his side the embarrassment of a double figure score.
In the series, Bangladesh's longest innings was the 64 overs its players faced in the first innings of this Test. But the second innings effort was its shortest, at only 41 overs.
In Hamilton in the first Test, the side batted for only 58.1 and 46.2 overs.
Therein lies the greatest problem Bangladesh faced, a lack of concentration and application.
Too often batsmen were looking to get on with the job of scoring runs instead of building an innings and grinding down the bowlers.
New Zealand, now a well-oiled unit after their confidence boosting efforts in Australia, were not even required to perform at peak to achieve victories.
Captain Stephen Fleming has now scored his 15th Test victory as captain and New Zealand is teasingly poised on 49 Test victories, and nothing would be sweeter for New Zealanders than to see the half century passed against England when the two teams meet in March.
However, New Zealand has the tri-series against Australia and South Africa to complete first and that will be the next big stepping side to measure how far Fleming and his side have advanced.
Today, there was an expectancy that the victory would be quickly completed, and that was achieved in 68 minutes with the only hiccup being the ninth wicket stand that yielded 49 runs between Mashrafe and Sanwar Hossain.
Mashrafe used his obvious eye-to-hand agility to make the most of backing off to leg against the pace of Shane Bond and playing some audacious shots, including an unorthodox lofted off drive for six runs, an exquisite piece of timing.
There were signs of typically wristy strokeplay from the top batsmen in the Bangladesh side throughout the series, but it was overdone. In time, as long as lessons are learned, there will be some good batting from the Bangladeshis but they face a tricky time accruing the necessary experience.
Their cause was not helped today by the eighth ball of the morning run out which was unnecessary.
Captain Khaled Mashud called Sanwar through but the run was never really on. Craig McMillan at leg slip was quickly onto the ball and had a perfect return in to wicket-keeper Adam Parore for the run out to be completed.
From that point, Bond's speed accounted for Sanwar with a ball of pace and accuracy that found the gap between bat and pad to bowl him.
Hasibul Hossain was caught by Parore standing up to the wicket from Daniel Vettori's bowling.
With Bond on the hunt for a five-wicket bag, Mashrafe proved his foil and Fleming had to switch to Chris Cairns to complete the business.
And Cairns wasted no time, taking two wickets in two balls, the first a disguised slower full toss to bowl Mashrafe and the second a simple edge to Mathew Sinclair at second slip.
Cairns moved to 194 Test wickets while Vettori is now on 125 wickets, fifth on the New Zealand list.
Parore is also moving closer to a significant milestone of 200 dismissals, he has completed 187.
Bond used the series to significantly improve his bowling average with 14 at 31.35, much healthier than the 96.33 he started the series with.
His bowling, honed by the demands of New Zealand's domestic cricket, and probably the VB Series in Australia, should see him become a significant force in the England series later in the summer.
It was in the end, the expected job done by the New Zealanders, and a disappointing inability to adapt by the Bangladeshis who have been left with plenty to think about before their status can advance.
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