SYLHET-Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto hit his third Test century in the last four innings to put his side on course for a strong total in the second innings of the first Test against New Zealand.
The hosts reached 212-3 at stumps on the third day, leading New Zealand by 205 runs, with Najmul unbeaten on 104. Former captain Mushfiqur Rahim made an unbeaten 43 and put on 96 runs in the unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Najmul.
Najmul, who scored a century in both innings of Bangladesh’s previous Test against Afghanistan in June, also shared 90 runs with Mominul Haque for the third wicket. The left-hander has now become the first Bangladeshi cricketer to score a hundred on his debut as Test captain.
He took his hundred, his fourth in Tests, with a single off Ajaz Patel in 191 balls before signing off the day in style with a boundary in the last ball. The 25-year-old struck 10 fours so far in his innings. He was however involved in two runouts on the day, with the last being Mominul, who made 40.
Najmul and Mominul helped Bangladesh recover from 26-2 after New Zealand made 317 in their first innings to take a slender seven-run lead. Mominul praised Najmul for his “outstanding” batting. “He knows very well about his game and has a clear mind,” Mominul said.
Patel, the only New Zealand bowler with some success on the day, trapped opener Zakir Hasan leg-before for 17. Tim Southee directed a straight drive by Najmul onto the stumps at the non-striking end to run out Mahmudul Hasan for eight next over.
Mominul, who joined Najmul in the rescue act, was also the hero for Bangladesh with the ball, having taken the last two New Zealand wickets in the morning. The tourists, replying to Bangladesh’s first-innings 310, resumed on 266-8, still 44 runs behind.
Southee and Kyle Jamieson frustrated Bangladesh for more than an hour to share 52 runs for the ninth wicket until left-arm spinner Mominul removed them both in the same over. Mominul trapped Jamieson leg-before for 23 to leave New Zealand 316-9 and then bowled Southee four balls later for 35 to finish with career-best figures of 3-4.
Southee hit three boundaries in his 62-ball stay. The two-match series is the beginning of a new cycle in the World Test Championship for both teams.