Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Wagner’s bouncer barrage wins series


Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman is clean bowled by New Zealand’s Trent Boult, unseen, on the fifth day of the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Short-ball specialist Neil Wagner yesterday engineered an innings victory over Bangladesh in what New Zealand called “an ideal two days” in the rain-shortened second Test to wrap up the series with a game to spare.

After the first two days were washed out, the match finished in the first session of the final day in Wellington as New Zealand completed a fifth consecutive series win for the first time.

In the face of Wagner’s relentless bouncer barrage, Bangladesh were all out for 209 to give New Zealand victory by an innings and 12 runs to go with their innings and 52-run win in the first Test.

“It was an ideal two days,” said Tim Southee, who took over as New Zealand captain after Kane Williamson left for treatment on an injured shoulder. “With the amount of time that was lost through rain, a lot of people thought it was going to be tough to win a Test inside three days, but we knew there was always going to be a little bit of assistance in the wicket.”

“The batters need a lot of credit for the way they put us in such a strong position yesterday that we only needed to bat once. I think that was the backbone of another Test win for us,” he said.

Of the 20 Bangladesh wickets to fall, Wagner took nine, including 5-45 in the second innings.

After Ross Taylor’s 200 steered New Zealand to 432-6 declared in their first innings, a lead of 221, Bangladesh yesterday resumed at 80-3.

They advanced to 112 before Trent Boult removed Soumya Sarkar for 28 and Wagner made sure the remaining wickets fell quickly. Only captain Mahmudullah Riyad and Mohammed Mithun, who scored 67 and 47 respectively, offered serious resistance.

“We didn’t commit and back ourselves,” said Mahmudullah, adding they had discussed “the Wagner factor” before arriving in New Zealand and he believed his batsmen “have the skill level” to handle the short ball.

“We were handling him well, but then we gave it away. We have to bat with more guts for longer periods. A number of our batsmen are playing half-hearted shots, or we are not committed. We are in two minds whether to play a shot or not,” Mahmudullah said. “You need to back yourself. If you want to attack, you should know how you want to cope with their bouncer theory.”

The third and final Test starts in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday.

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