Second Test Match

Bangladesh v New Zealand

Utpal Shuvro

At Chittagong, October 26, 27, 28, 29, 2004. New Zealand won by an innings and 101 runs. Toss: New Zealand. Test debut: Aftab Ahmed.

Bangladesh suffered another humiliating defeat, the 18th time they had lost by an innings in their 32 Tests. They were outplayed in all departments and, once again, the match ended five sessions early. Vettori, who had claimed eight wickets in the First Test, played a crucial role again, recording match figures of 12 for 170. Even he was upstaged by Fleming, who celebrated his 87th Test appearance, surpassing the New Zealand record held by all-rounder Sir Richard Hadlee, with a double-century. He also passed Martin Crowe's record of 5,444 runs for New Zealand.

Fleming chose to bat first on another typically low, slow subcontinental wicket, but there was an element of encouragement for the home side when both openers went. Then Fleming and Styris assumed control.

Styris struggled at first. He was missed behind the wicket, survived two loud lbw appeals and took 87 balls to register his first boundary. However, he grew more fluent as time went by and it was a surprise when he was caught and bowled by Mohammad Rafique 11 short of his century, with the stand worth 204.

By that time, Fleming had already reached his eighth Test hundred. Particularly powerful on the on side, he added 99 more with Astle and reached his double-century soon after lunch on the second day. He had batted for 446 minutes, faced 318 balls and hit a six and 21 fours when he scooped a ball from part-time off-spinner Rajin Saleh to mid-off. New Zealand were already a formidable 447 for five, but the torment was not over for Bangladesh: Marshall and Oram added another 70 before Fleming finally called a halt.

Requiring 346 to make New Zealand bat again, Bangladesh desperately needed a solid start. But despite an early flurry of boundaries, they were soon in disarray. Not surprisingly, it was Vettori who made the breakthrough, having Nafis Iqbal well caught by the diving Styris in the gully. From that point, only Javed Omar, who during his sixth Test half-century became the second Bangladesh batsman after Habibul Bashar to score 1,000 runs, offered sustained resistance. Despite some late hitting by Rafique, Vettori wrapped up the innings with Bangladesh still 363 in arrears.

They fared little better second time around, losing their first five wickets for 74. Mohammad Ashraful, one of the few batsmen to show any fight in the previous Test, collected the second pair of his Test career in the space of three hours. Bangladesh finished the third day 153 runs behind with only two wickets standing and no prospect of avoiding yet another innings defeat.

Surprisingly, a crowd of around 2,000 turned up to witness the last rites, and their enthusiasm was rewarded by some enterprising play from tailender Tapash Baisya, who threw caution to the winds as he raced to his half-century from just 36 balls, the fastest by a Bangladesh batsman. He hammered Wiseman for a six and four fours in three overs, and even Vettori came in for punishment. When he was finally stumped off Vettori, Tapash had plundered 51 from only 30 balls in the morning session and his whirlwind 66 from 47 deliveries featured two sixes and ten fours. It was fun while it lasted, but could not disguise the grim reality that, once again, Bangladesh had been completely outplayed.

Man of the Match: S. P. Fleming. Man of the Series: D. L. Vettori.

© John Wisden & Co