Guptill, McCullum resist spirited Bangladesh
An unbroken 100-run partnership between Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum helped New Zealand stage a comeback on the first day in the one off Test at Seddon Park. The pair combined with the home side struggling at 158 for 5, but batted with assurance till stumps to rescue them from a dodgy position.
New Zealand were pushed to a corner by the Bangladesh seamers who made good use of a green, seaming wicket after a rain-delayed start. Shafiul Islam bowled an immaculate line and length throughout his first spell, beating the bats of both New Zealand openers repeatedly before getting one to seam slightly away from Tim McIntosh who edged to Imrul Kayes at second slip.
Rubel Hossain then took over, bowling at a lively pace and finding consistency in the afternoon session to trouble the New Zealand top order with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries. He was the pick of the visiting bowlers, ending with 3 for 86. After accounting for opener BJ Watling, Rubel added the scalps of debutant Peter Ingram and Ross Taylor, who both promised a lot in their aggressive knocks.
Ingram's announced his arrival, following McIntosh's departure, with a flurry of powerfully hit boundaries through the off side while Watling struggled to an unconvincing 13 at the other end. Ingram eventually holed out to mid on, attempting to pull Rubel from wide outside off stump, ending a 47-ball innings that included an enormous straight six off Shakib Al Hasan.
In the afternoon session, Taylor continued to bat as aggressively as he has done throughout the tour, dealing in boundaries through point and mid wicket, but was again unable deliver a big innings that would have given his side the advantage. A fuller Rubel delivery was to be his demise, as he edged behind leaving the team total on 126 for 4.
Daniel Vettori, batting at six in the absence of Jesse Ryder and Grant Elliott, was unable to make an impression, getting to 10 before dancing past a Shakib Al Hasan delivery that clipped the top of the off stump. His dismissal left the hosts teetering at 158 for 5, and in desperate need of rescue mission.
Martin Guptill led the recovery, continuing his sparkling form from the ODIs to end unbeaten on 80 at stumps. After being dropped on 4 by Shafiul, attempting to complete a sharp return chance, Guptill batted impeccably, keeping out a menacing Bangladesh attack, and driving handsomely down the ground and through the covers on a regular basis to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The pull shot was also used to good effect towards the end of the day, as the Bangladesh seamers' short deliveries became less effective as the bounce got steadily lower.
New Zealand's highest partnership of the day between Guptill and Brendon McCullum, who ended on an unbeaten 58 from just 71 deliveries, revived their hopes of a sizeable first innings total. The unbroken century stand, a New Zealand record against Bangladesh for the sixth wicket, looked set to resuscitate the innings before bad light stopped play. Bangladesh will be pleased with the way they have competed, but will need to make early breakthroughs tomorrow to stand any chance of pulling off an unexpected victory.