Second Test

Bangladesh v New Zealand 2008-09

Utpal Shuvro

At Mirpur, October 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2008. Drawn. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debut: Mahbubul Alam.

When the first three days were washed out by incessant rain, only one result seemed possible: a dull draw. Although that was how it ended, there was no shortage of drama. At first, Bangladesh did not realise how dramatic it could be. In his press conference at the end of the fourth day - the first day on which they played - Mohammad Ashraful revealed they had been unaware that, because the Test had become a two-day match, the follow-on margin had dropped from 200 runs to 100 under Law 13. By then, they were tottering on 13 for three, needing another 150 to avoid the possibility of being forced to bat again. A match which had seemed to be of academic interest suddenly turned out to be a serious matter, and questions were raised about the team management's ignorance.

Bangladesh lost all three wickets in their tenth over, Vettori's first, and the last full over of the day, before bad light ended play. Until then, the openers looked comfortable, but Junaid Siddique's composure seemed to vanish at the sight of Vettori. He rushed down the pitch to the first delivery and McCullum made a straightforward stumping. Ashraful came out in fading light and was given leg-before to his second ball, a beautifully disguised arm-ball, and the over concluded with Rajin Saleh meeting the same fate.

This disastrous finish made it difficult to remember how brightly the day had started for Bangladesh. Predictably, Ashraful inserted New Zealand on a slightly damp pitch, and was vindicated when both openers were back in the dressing-room by the fourth over. Redmond was first to go, shouldering arms. How had no answer to a gem of a delivery from debutant Mahbubul Alam, which swung in the air, pitched on middle and hit his off stump. When Shahadat Hossain bowled Taylor, New Zealand found themselves a nervous 49 for three. Ryder and McCullum pulled them out of trouble in a stand of 137: Ryder, who had made his Test debut at Chittagong, missed out on a maiden century when he top-edged Abdur Razzak to square leg, while McCullum played his first substantial innings of the tour.

Vettori declared at 262 for six, and then gave his side a real chance of winning the shortened game with his dramatic over at the end of the day. The following morning it looked even likelier as Bangladesh slumped to 44 for six: 119 needed to save the follow-on, and the New Zealand bowlers had their tails up. Shakib Al Hasan and Mortaza, who hit seven fours and two sixes, came to the rescue, adding 78, but both fell before the target was achieved, and it was Razzak who saw them over the line. The match saved, Ashraful gave himself the pleasure of declaring their innings, for only the third time in Bangladesh's Test history, and New Zealand batted out time.

Afterwards, umpires de Silva and Harper reported Razzak for a suspect action, which led to his suspension from bowling in international cricket in December.

Man of the Match: D. L. Vettori. Man of the Series: D. L. Vettori.
Close of play: First day, No play; Second day, No play; Third day, No play; Fourth day, Bangladesh 13-3 (Tamim Iqbal 8, Mehrab Hossain 0).

© John Wisden & Co.