Tom Latham (161), Jeet Raval (131) and Kane Williamson (93*) feasted on the mediocre Bangladeshi bowling attack on the second day of the first Test to keep the visitors on the mat at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Friday (March 1).
Resuming the day on 86 for no loss, overnight batsmen Raval and Latham toyed with Bangladesh and smashed their bowlers all round the park. Once they departed, Williamson joined the party and kept the pressure on the touring side. When stumps were drawn on Day 2, Williamson and nightwatchman Neil Wagner were batting on 93 and 1 respectively, with New Zealand on 451 for 4, leading by 217 runs.
Together, Latham and Raval stood in a 254-run partnership, the third highest by a New Zealand opening pair and the best since Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis’s record of 387 against the West Indies 47 years ago.
Raval went into his 17th Test holding the New Zealand record for the most fifties (eight) without reaching a hundred. But he held his nerve after passing his previous best — 88 on the same ground against South Africa two years ago — and was able to raise his bat when back-to-back fours off Ebadat Hossain took him from 93 to 101.
For 68 overs they caressed the ball to all points of the boundary and looked extremely comfortable with Raval cracking 19 fours and a six in his marathon innings before the elusive breakthrough came for Bangladesh. Captain Mahmudullah brought himself on for one over only and with his fifth delivery Raval skied an attempted slog-sweep to Khaled Ahmed at mid-wicket.
Latham, who had been dropped without scoring, brought up his century with a top edge off Abu Jayed that raced to the fine leg boundary. It was also the fourth time he has passed the 150 mark and he has also reached 3,000 career Test runs in the course of his innings.
Bangladesh’s Soumya Sarkar finally got his revenge when he took the key wicket of Latham — 161 runs, studded with 17 fours and three sixes, after dropping him on nought. The part-time bowler spilled a simple slip catch at the start of the New Zealand innings, allowing Latham to compile his giant score. He got out while poking at a wide delivery from Soumya and a diving Mohammad Mithun completed the dismissal — also at second slip.
Ross Taylor (4) missed out on the run-fest and was pinned right in front of the stumps in the bowling of Sarkar.
Williamson and Henry Nicholls, however, didn’t miss out and kept building on Bangladesh’s misery. The two batsmen scored at a decent pace and got hardly challenged by the already-tired Bangladeshi bowling attack.
After completing his fifty, Nicholls was knocked over just before the close of day’s play for 53, but only after adding 100 runs for the fifth wicket