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Najmul ton puts Bangladesh in vantage position

GreenWatch Desk Cricket 2023-11-30, 6:12pm


Najmul Hossain became the first Bangladeshi to score a Test century on captaincy debut as his innings put hosts in the driving seat at the end of the 3rd day in their 1st match of the two-Test series at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

The last ball of the day was a befitting finish as Najmul smashed a short pitch delivery of left-arm spinner Aijaz Patel through offside boundary for and Bangladesh ended the day on 212-3 with a lead of 205 runs.

Najmul was not out on 104 and Mushfiq on 43 as the pair added 96 runs and looked to add many more in the fourth day. New Zealand bowlers on the other hand failed to utilise the pitch as they bowled and two of the three wickets they got in Bangladesh second innings came as run outs.

Mominul Haque was one of them. Najmul and Mominul, the southpaw pairs added 90 runs and looked to be in absolute control but Mominul placed a Patel delivery to mid-on and attempted a quick single. Najmul correctly sent him back but it was too late as Henry Nicholls made a quick throw and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell did the rest. Mominul was out for 40 and Bangladesh could be in trouble.

But experienced Mushfiqur Rahim seized the moment and calmed the situation. He gave Najmul assurance on the other side and the partnership flourished. Both punished the loose balls, Najmul scoring 10 fours while Mushfiq five to keep the dominance.

Najmul and Mominul had gone to tea break with an unbeaten 85-run stand to keep the hosts’ slightly ahead in the game after two wickets in quick succession.

Bangladesh openers Mahmudul Hasan and Zakir Hasan negotiated the tricky period before the lunch accumulating 19 runs off 10 overs as hosts took a lead of 12 runs.

After lunch Zakir was the first to go when he fell prey to left-arm spinner Aijaz Patel for the second time in the match. Like in the first innings, left-handed batter failed to play a sharp turn properly and was dismissed leg before for 12.

Mahmudul, who scored 86 in the first innings, was out in a rather unfortunate way. Najmul drove the last ball of the 14th over, bowled by Tim Southee, but the ball ricocheted off the bowler’s finger and broke the stumps of the non-striking end where Mahmudul was out of the crease.

Mahmudul was out for 17 and Bangladesh were in a spot of bother with 26-2 but Najmul and Shanto made some counter attacks and took the score to 111-2 at tea.

Earlier in the morning Mominul proved his ability of taking wickets against New Zealand as the occasional bowler picking up up two wickets to wrap up their first innings during the first of the two-match series.

Overnight New Zealand pair Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, who resumed with a trail of 46 runs, batted stubbornly throughout the first hour and made sure their team got the vital first innings lead.

Just when it seemed the visitors were heading for a substantial lead in the turning track, Bangladesh resorted to Mominul, who got a home Test wicket after nine years yesterday, and he straightaway broke the 52-run stand.

The first ball of Mominul’s new spell and also the first ball after the drinks break saw Jamieson beaten and adjudged leg before for 23. Aijaz Patel took a single three balls later and when Southee, who made 35, tried to whack the fifth ball he was clean bowled.

New Zealand took a seven-run lead as Mominul ended with his best figure of 3-4. As a matter of fact, Mominul now has seven wickets out of 10 against the kiwis. The only other innings he got a Test wicket was against South Africa in 2017 when he grabbed 3-27 at Potchefstroom.