First Test Match

Bangladesh v New Zealand

Utpal Shuvro

At Dhaka, October 19, 20, 21, 22, 2004. New Zealand won by an innings and 99 runs. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debut: Nafis Iqbal.

The first seven overs of the opening day set the tone for the match and the series. Having opted to bat in ideal conditions, Bangladesh lost their first three wickets for just five runs in the space of 39 deliveries, handing New Zealand an initiative they never relinquished.

Hannan Sarkar, who shares with Sunil Gavaskar the dubious distinction of having been dismissed off the first ball of a Test three times, narrowly missed claiming the record outright, edging the third ball of the match from Oram to first slip. Javed Omar and debutant Nafis Iqbal soon followed, to leave Bangladesh in disarray.

A partial recovery was effected by Rajin Saleh and Mohammad Ashraful, who added 115. Ashraful was the more aggressive: though he was dropped on five, his fluent 67 featured three sixes and eight fours before he became Vettori's first victim of what was destined to be a profitable series. His departure heralded some painfully slow batting for the rest of a mainly forgettable first day.

Any hope of sustained late-order resistance on the second morning evaporated when the left-arm seamer Franklin became only the second New Zealander to achieve a Test hat-trick, emulating off-spinner Peter Petherick's feat on his debut at Lahore in 1976- 77. Franklin, following his impressive form in England, dismissed Manjural Islam Rana and Mohammad Rafique with the last two deliveries of his 14th over and Tapash Baisya with the first ball of his 15th.

New Zealand fared little better at first themselves. Only Sinclair, who scored 76 from 173 balls, looked at ease against the left-arm spin combination of Rafique and Manjural. When he was fifth out, at 139, Bangladesh entertained reasonable hopes of restricting the deficit to manageable proportions. However, McCullum had other ideas. Under pressure to get runs, like all modern wicket-keepers, he had set himself the target of scoring a maiden Test century during the series and fulfilled his ambition in splendid fashion, with 143. When he was ninth out at 371 he had given his side complete control. McCullum, who survived two chances, played the leading role in three crucial stands, as the last five wickets contributed a decisive 263 runs. The only consolation for Bangladesh was the performance of Rafique, who claimed his fourth five-wicket haul on a pitch taking increasing spin, and Vettori wasted little time in exploiting the conditions when Bangladesh batted again, 225 behind. He had endured a lean spell prior to this match, with just 16 wickets in his last nine Tests, but this was an opportunity he was unlikely to miss, and he claimed his first five-for since December 2001.

Once again, the Bangladesh top order failed, Vettori grabbing the first three wickets in the opening 22 overs with just 41 on the board. Iqbal and Ashraful stemmed the tide for a while. But the dismissal of Iqbal, run out one short of a maiden half-century, sparked a collapse in which the last seven wickets fell for 39. Vettori, backed up by Wiseman's off-spin, sealed victory with five sessions to spare.

Man of the Match: B. B. McCullum.

© John Wisden & Co