CHRISTCHURCH: Bangladesh unleashed Shakib Al Hasan with dramatic effect late on day two of the second Test against New Zealand claiming three quick wickets to leave the contest evenly poised on Saturday.
“He can do anything on any wicket,” fast bowler Taskin Ahmed said of the left-arm spinner who reshaped the game with three wickets in nine deliveries.
New Zealand, comfortable at 252-4, were rapidly reduced to 260-7 by Shakib in reply to Bangladesh’s 289 when rain ended play about 40 minutes early at Hagley Oval.
Henry Nicholls was not out 56 with Tim Southee on four.
“Shakib did really well. The three wickets changed the momentum,” Taskin said, with Bangladesh searching for a first win over New Zealand to follow their victory over England in October.
“It will be a very good achievement for us. Our last series back home, we won. We’re a bit less experienced than them but still, we can win.
“They also batted well but we’re hoping in the next innings if we can make a big score it will be a good Test match.”
New Zealand rated the situation “even” and were banking on Nicholls taking them to a first innings lead before applying pressure with the ball.
“If we can get ourselves in a handy position and get as many as we can in front hopefully we can put the pressure on them with the ball,” opener Tom Latham said.
“If we can come in the morning get a few with the ball it’ll swing it back into our favour.”
Until Shakib’s one-man fightback, New Zealand were advancing towards a first innings lead after a century stand by Ross Taylor (77) and Latham (68) laid the groundwork following an early collapse.
Taylor, needing one more century to equal the New Zealand record of 17 held by his mentor the late Martin Crowe, entered the fray following the cheap dismissal of Kane Williamson when New Zealand were trouble at 47-2.
He batted for 160 minutes, piercing the field with a series of cuts and pull shots and survived a dropped catch on 75 before being dismissed two runs later and 23 short of matching Crowe’s record.
He did achieve one milestone, though, becoming the third New Zealander and fastest to 6,000 Test runs when he drove Mehedi Hasan for three to reach 62 in his 145th innings.
Brendon McCullum took 163 innings to each the mark and Stephen Fleming 165.
Latham, backing up from a career-best 177 in the first Test, was untroubled in his partnership with Taylor until he uncharacteristically edged a wide Taskin delivery to give wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan his first Test dismissal.
Taylor soldiered on for another nine overs until he scooped Mehedi to substitute fielder Taijul Islam.
The umpires debated whether the ball hit the pitch first before ballooning out to Taijul but video replays confirmed it was a legitimate dismissal.
Kamrul made the early breakthrough for Bangladesh in his opening over when he removed opener Jeet Raval for 16 and Williamson for two in the space of three deliveries.
The Bangladesh bowlers had reason to feel aggrieved with at least four catches put to ground and a caught behind to remove Nicholls on 45 was rejected.
Television replays suggested the catch appeal had merit but Bangladesh had used up their two review opportunities.
When Mitchell Santner was given out lbw to Shakib Al Hasan for 29 and appealed the decision, the umpire’s decision was upheld but New Zealand did not lose a review because of the ball-tracking technology.
Santner and Nicholls put on 75 for the fifth wicket.
Shakib bowled BJ Watling for one and Colin de Grandhomme without scoring to finish the day with three for 32.