New Zealand short-ball maestro Neil Wagner believed a result in the rain-affected second Test against Bangladesh was still “definitely possible” after New Zealand trailed by 173 at stumps on day three in Wellington yesterday. New Zealand reached 38-2 in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings 211 after the first two days were washed out.
Thirteen wickets fell in the 72 overs possible, leading New Zealand’s chief wicket-taker Wagner to think there was still time to force a result in the remaining two days.
“It’s definitely possible,” Wagner said, having removed the cream of the Bangladesh side with 4-28.
“If we keep taking it session by session and get ourselves into the lead and pile on whatever we can, anything is possible,” he added.
New Zealand is to resume today with Ross Taylor on 19 and Kane Williamson on 10.
Tamim Iqbal gave the tourists a sound start with 74 as Bangladesh reached 119-1 before the next nine wickets fell for just 92 runs.
In reply, New Zealand were reduced to 8-2 as Abu Jayed claimed both openers cheaply, but Williamson and Taylor steadied the innings before the rain returned to force an early close.
Williamson, who won the toss, had no hesitation in bowling first on a green wicket, but it did not hold the demons that conditions suggested.
Tamim and Shadman Islam put on 75 for the first wicket — their third consecutive fifty-plus stand as new-ball pair Boult and Tim Southee were unable to generate much swing or effective seam movement.
Once they were out of the attack, the wickets began to fall with Colin de Grandhomme accounting for Shadman for 27 before Wagner weaved his magic.
“I tried to pitch my first over up and went for 10 runs, so there wasn’t a lot of swing or a lot of movement at that point in time,” Wagner said explaining why he reverted to his favored short deliveries.
“Obviously, I wanted to try and make the most out of the bounce ... and try and get nicks, try and get a glove and see if it goes through to BJ [Watling] — and luckily it worked on the day,” he said.
Unlike the first Test when the Bangladesh batsmen were troubled by the menacing height he extracted from the pitch, this time they were the architects of their own downfall with the wickets coming from injudicious pull shots or unnecessary leg side flicks.
“Batsmen have to think before playing their shots,” said Liton Das, the second-highest scorer with 33.
“We know [Wagner] will bowl short from where you have very little to do. Sometimes the only way to tackle him is by leaving the deliveries. If we can focus more against him and leave him more, it might help us,” Das said.
In a telling 13-ball spell on both sides of lunch, Wagner first removed Mominul Haque (15) and Mohammad Mithun (three) before the break and soon after the resumption took the key wicket of Tamim, who top-edged an attempted pull shot.
Boult mopped up with three wickets for four runs in nine balls.
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