Rain stops play after Tamim misses ton


Continuous rain from the afternoon forced an early end to the first day’s play of the Mirpur Test but Bangladesh would see it as a blessing in disguise as it stopped a batting rot from taking larger form. Opener Tamim Iqbal, who fell five runs short of his first century since June 2010, was part of a string of soft dismissals which undermined two impressive sessions with the bat, and hampered the home side’s plans of putting up a large first innings score.

The New Zealand bowlers were lucky on three out of the five wickets to fall, but the four-man pace attack worked hard to keep the batsmen on a leash. Neil Wagner, drafted in to replace Bruce Martin, took two wickets and generally looked sprightly. He complemented Trent Boult, the quicker of the two, well and made sure Doug Bracewell’s ten expensive overs didn’t hurt them too much. Though Bracewell was the most unfortunate, as Tamim was dropped twice – on 5 and 10 – of his bowling.

With his good fortune, Tamim led the way after Bangladesh opted to bat first. He produced some crisp strokes, collecting 17 fours in his 153-ball innings. He was severe on the drive, mainly off the three left-arm seamers, and his deft touches through the leg side and taps through third man were also equally impressive.

His progress into the nineties coincided with a cat-and-mouse game with Kane Williamson at gully. Tamim beat the fielder a few times but five runs short of his century, Williamson leapt sharply to his right to catch a ramp that was intended to go between the wicketkeeper and gully and Tamim’s century drought, lasting over three years, continues.

Shakib Al Hasan followed Tamim in the over leading into the tea interval. However, rain arrived five minutes into tea and stumps were called from the umpire’s room after the downpour grew steadily heavier in the next hour. The outfield was very wet, an unusual occurrence at Shere Bangla National Stadium, which hosts the best drainage facilities in the country. The weather is expected to remain bleak, with more rain forecast for the remaining four days.

Bangladesh made a good enough start despite losing the early wicket of Anamul Haque, who is yet to make a substantial score in his short Test career. This time he miscued a pull shot off Trent Boult to become the first of three tame dismissals.

The second wicket partnership between Tamim and Marshall Ayub was the high point of the day’s batting. Marshall dominated the 67-run stand, striking six fours, and his drives through the off side caught the eye again. But similar to both innings of the Chittagong Test, Marshall fell just when he looked set for a maiden Test fifty. Mominul Haque was the third wicket that was gifted to the oppositon. The ball was so wide that it was a credit that he could edge it. Before the uncharacteristic dismissal, he had made 47 off 59 balls with eight fours.

New Zealand would look to ensure this shift in momentum continues, but with more rain looming, play on the second day looks doubtful.


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