Only a matter of time before Test win No 49 is completed

Sometime early tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting - always weather permitting in this particular summer - New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming should be celebrating his 15th Test victory and a 2-0 National Bank series win over Bangladesh.

It was a measure of his confidence that he declared with a lead of 209 runs, but by stumps on day three, or day two in the actual time played in the game, his bowlers had Bangladesh reeling at 67/5, still 142 runs short of making New Zealand bat again.

Fast bowler Shane Bond proved too fast and found disconcerting cut off what is still a good, if slow, Basin Reserve pitch to end the day with three wickets for 13 runs and every chance of more in the morning.

Sanwar Hossain showed he could bat with some power in the first Test in Hamilton, but it is a tall order for him and Khaled Mahmud to find respectability in this game.

New Zealand, if anything, today were probably guilty of loosening up in their thinking and application and were twice required to reboot their innings. There was always the hint that Mark Richardson, Craig McMillan or Chris Cairns might break out with a special innings, but were all cut down before reaching their prime.

There was a stage during the morning session when the disc jockey whose job it was to 'entertain' the crowd between overs with music seemed to sum up the New Zealand batting mood when playing 'Help Yourself', the Tom Jones ballad. Because at that stage that was exactly what Richardson and Matt Horne were doing with the bowling.

Horne was unable to carry on however, touching a ball that moved across him from the left-armer Manjural Islam to be caught behind for 38.

The paid had added 104 runs for the opening wicket, the 31st century opening stand in New Zealand's Test history and the third in the calendar year.

After adding 44 runs with Lou Vincent, Richardson departed when miscuing a pull shot which he attempted to play to a ball too wide of off stump, the ball lofting up to mid off. His 83 included some lovely straight and cover drives, but the more he attempted the pull shot, the more it looked likely to be his downfall, a fact obviously noted by the Bangladesh bowlers.

Vincent followed soon after for 23, and then Fleming and McMillan produced a colourful stand of 130 runs off 149 balls with McMillan scoring his 50 off 42 balls and Fleming a more measured 75 balls.

McMillan's confidence overflowed a little when he attempted a dicey second run and paid the price for it when Mashrafe Mortaza's throwing arm found him well short of the mark and he departed for 70 from 71 balls.

Three runs later Fleming got an edge to a ball moving across him from Manjural to be caught behind for 61 off 89 balls.

The new partnership of Mathew Sinclair and Cairns took a few moments to get a sighter, saw the 300 up and then began their assault to add 50 off 49 balls and 63 runs were taken off the last 11 overs of the innings.

Fleming made his declaration with Cairns' dismissal after 31 balls produced 36 runs with two fours and three sixes. One straight drive was in danger of decapitating bowler's end umpire Brent Bowden as he ducked below stump height to avoid being hit.

Mashrafe and Manjural were the pick of the Bangladesh attack with Manjural taking a highly-respectable bag of Horne, Fleming and Cairns for a cost of 99 runs off his 29 overs.

He had the difficult task of bowling into the wind and while it wasn't as strong as on the first day it was still enough to be unsettling for any bowler not used to the unique demands of bowling on this ground.

Mashrafe was a good foil and had Vincent's wicket at a cost of 57 runs from his 16 overs.

There were times during the day when the Bangladesh fielding effort also lifted to be its most effective of the series.

But it could only ever go in the 'lessons learned' file, because Bangladesh have never had a look-in in this game, or in the series.