Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has praised his team for fighting back to win the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. New Zealand were dismissed for 171 in the first innings, conceded a lead of 74, were set a target of 317 and completed the victory with three wickets in hand.
"We didn't play all that well in our first batting innings," Vettori said. "We were pretty disappointed and the guys knew that it was not really acceptable putting on only 171. But I was pleased with the fightback to restrict Bangladesh to 240-odd in both innings because the pitch got better as the game went on. I still think we are a long way off from playing to our potential but we got the job done here and that has been pleasing."
New Zealand scraped through by three wickets largely due to a Man-of-the-Match performance from Vettori with both bat and ball. He took nine wickets and scored two half-centuries: his 76 in the second innings played a crucial part in New Zealand's victory.
"I was there as a nightwatchman," Vettori said for he had come in at No. 4 late on the fourth day. "Obviously I played well in the first innings and thought that it was easier for a left-hander to play the spinners so I wanted to put myself up the order. I had some pretty good form and gave myself a chance before the next new ball and it worked out pretty well. I think it is always important for the captain to set standards so it was pleasing for me to have made a contribution with bat and ball."
Vettori underlined the concerns over the New Zealand batting, which has struggled throughout the tour, but lauded the efforts of the youngsters in the team. "We just asked our batsmen to put in a bit more commitment. Our batting hasn't always stood up to the test but over the last day and a half it was very pleasing, particularly the performances of Aaron Redmond, who was playing his first Test in the subcontinent, and Daniel Flynn. The conditions weren't easy but for those two young guys to stand up and show us that they want to perform has been very exciting for us as a team."
He gave credit to Bangladesh and believed they were "good enough to stay in Test cricket", especially with the talent present in the squad. While Shakib Al Hasan stood out for the hosts with his first-innings figures of 7-36 and a gritty 71 in the second, Abdur Razzak was equally impressive with the ball and did most of the damage during the chase.
"I was particularly impressed with Shakib. He maintained his line and length, bowled a lot and obviously batted well," Vettori said. "For a young guy coming into his seventh or eighth Test match to bowl that well consistently must be very encouraging for the Bangladesh side. Shakib and Razzak bowled exceptionally well throughout the Test so it was not an easy challenge. If you look at the Bangladesh players from an individual level there are some really talented guys and now they have got to try and put it together as a team."
Having taken in a 1-0 lead, New Zealand will look to wrap up the two-Test series. The second Test begins on Saturday in Dhaka.