May 26, 2024

Sports Desk: Bangladesh registered a landmark 150-run victory against New Zealand to go up 1-0 in two-match series, thanks to left-arm spinner Taijul Islam who spun the New Zealand batters in a gem of performance at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium today.

Taijul ended with a match-figure of 10-184, his second 10-wicket haul in a Test match to emulate Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz as New Zealand found them wanting in a relentless spin attack.

Unlike the victory against Australia and England, which came in a rage turner in Mirpur, the win was scripted in a better pitch which offered something for pacers, spinners and batters.

But Bangladesh, which has been at its lowest ebb following a disastrous World Cup performance and came into the game without as many five first choice players, showed a performance of ages to take the match in their favour.

Taijul followed his 4-109 with 6-75 in the second innings to wrap up New Zealand innings for 181 in the first session of day five, while chasing a target of 332.

Offspinner Nayeem Hasan complemented him with 2-40 while pacer Shoriful Islam (1-13) and offspinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (1-44) took the rest of the two wickets.

Daryl Mitchell battled lonely to top-score for the visitors with 58.

Bangladesh went into the fifth and final day of the game, needing just three wickets to complete the inevitable. But resuming at 113-7 and requiring 219 runs, Mitchell’s presence gave New Zealand a slim hope for an unlikely victory given the fact that Sylhet pitch normally behaves well in the morning session.

Mitchell struck Taijul a boundary through mid-off in the third ball of the day before punching the same bowler for a single through cover to raise his ninth 50 off 99 balls. Tension rose as he batted with ease as a testament that pitch had no demons.

He looked confident against spinners and repeatedly swept them to keep the scoreboard moving.

However, probably the overconfidence got the better of him as a sweep shot against offspinner Nayeem Hasan brought his dismissal, ending New Zealand’s any kind of hope of saving the game.

Skipper Tim Southee played an attacking 34 off 24 with one four and two sixes before Taijul dismissed him to complete his 12th five-for.

Taijul then fittingly wrapped up New Zealand innings when Ish Sodhi who made a laborious 22 off 91, popped a simple catch to Zakir Hasan at silly mid-off.

Opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy made 86 as Bangladesh were bowled out 310 in its first innings but New Zealand earned a 7-run lead, compiling 317, courtesy to a brilliant 104 of Kane Williamson.

Najmul Hossain Shanto then became first Bangladesh cricketer to hit a century on debut as captain to lead Bangladesh to 338 in second innings, setting a dauting 332-run target for the visitors on an increasingly deteriorating pitch.

His century paved the way for Bangladesh’s only second and first victory at home against New Zealand.

The second and final Test begins on December 6 at Mirpur.

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