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New Zealand 539 all out, Bangladesh to make big target    

15 January 2017, 11:38:49

Sports Correspondent: A fiery spell of short-pitched bowling – assisted by a remarkable over from part-time spinner Mahmudullah – helped Bangladesh dismiss New Zealand for 539 and secure a lead of 56 in Wellington.

The Test continued to head towards a draw as 73-run seventh wicket partnership between BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner followed a resplendent 177 from Tom Latham. But by virtue of keeping their disciplines and harnessing scoreboard pressure – why else would you bother putting up 595 for 8 – the visitors injected a little thrill back into the game, just in time for the organisers to announce free entry for the final day.

Kamrul Islam Rabbi and his accurate bouncers off his slingy action were particularly hard to deal with. He struck Neil Wagner on the shoulder once, then on the grille, which shifted back to bruise his chin and finally on the back of his neck as well. The batsman required medical attention from the physio multiple times but refused to go off the field until he was dismissed off a top-edged a pull. Imrul Kayes took the catch, his fifth catch of the match, the best haul by a substitute wicketkeeper in Test cricket.

While everyone knew that wicket was coming, Mahmudullah wickets were huge surprises. He often bowls in limited-overs cricket, especially at home, on slow, turning pitches. But the Basin Reserve was nothing like that. The healthy grass cover on the surface made sure it together well enough that even on the fourth day there was no spin. The bounce and pace was true and the ball kept coming onto the bat so a spinner has to deceive batsmen in the air.

So naturally the match had to break open with a silly old short ball down leg stump. Watling, on 49, wound up, trying to pull it to the fine leg boundary, but all he could do was feather and edge through to Kayes, who had run three feet or so to his left, desperate to stop byes. He had his eyes turned away from the ball when it settled snugly in his gloves.

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