StumpsBangladesh 310 for 9 (Mahmudul 86, Shanto 37, Mominul 37, Phillips 4-53, Jamieson 2-52, Ajaz 2-76) vs New Zealand
Glenn Phillips was New Zealand’s surprise hero with the ball as they kept Bangladesh down to 310 for 9 on the first day of the Sylhet Test. Phillips, the middle-order batter and part-time offspinner, finished the day with 4 for 53, as New Zealand engineered a batting slide that started towards the end of the second session. It’s only Phillips’ second Test, and the first time he had been given a bowl.
At that point, in the 53rd over, Bangladesh were 180 for 2 with Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Mominul Haque solid in the middle. As soon as Phillips removed Mominul and Ish Sodhi followed it up with Mahmudul’s wicket, Bangladesh’s initiative was gone. New Zealand captain Tim Southee, however, didn’t just put spin on from both ends and wait for things to happen. He rotated the three spinners – Ajaz Patel the third – but often kept one quick bowler on.
Of the Bangladesh batters, Mahmudul was the top-scorer on the day, with 86 off 166 balls with 11 fours. Mahmudul’s cover drive – the batter leaning into the short stylishly – is his most attractive shot, and he struck seven of his boundaries in different angles between cover and extra cover.
Ajaz gave New Zealand their first breakthrough of the day when he bowled left-hand opening batter Zakir Hasan with one that spun back from well outside off stump after a 39-run stand.
Najmul Hossain Shanto, captain for the series, ramped up the scoring rate with three sixes and two fours in a 53-run stand for the second wicket with Mahmudul, but he then launched Phillips to the sky, only for Kane Williamson to take a tumbling catch at mid-on. Shanto’s 37 off 35 balls felt like a bit of a waste of a good start, particularly after the way he had dominated the New Zealand spinners, hitting well down the ground – two of his sixes went over long-on.
Mahmudul, who had held steady at the other end, now had Mominul Haque to see off the tricky 2.4 overs before lunch. Once that was done, they tried to put together a strong foundation. They batted steadily, adding 88 runs at just over three runs an over. They looked like they would go into the tea break, but Tom Blundell, who was troubled against the spinners on the low-bounce track, took a sharp catch when Mominul went back to cut Phillips and got an inside edge. He made 37 off 78 balls, with four boundaries.
The very next over, Sodhi snared Mahmudul with a beautifully flighted delivery that the batter lunged at, and edged to Daryl Mitchell at slip. Bangladesh were suddenly 184 for 4.
And shortly after tea, Mushfiqur Rahim stepped out and drove Ajaz flat and straight to Williamson at mid-off to fall for 12.
There were pockets of resistance after that, but Mehidy Hasan Miraz got into a tangle – play or duck? – against Kyle Jamieson‘s short ball to be caught at slip, and debutant Shahadat Hossain struck three fours in his 54-ball stay before chipping one to Henry Nicholls at midwicket to give Phillips his third wicket.
Phillips’ fourth of the day was Nurul Hasan, caught down the leg side for 29, before Nayeem Hasan edged Jamieson’s wide delivery to second slip.
There was no fifth wicket for Phillips on the day, as Taijul Islam and No. 11 Shoriful Islam batted out the 3.1 remaining overs.