Najmul Hossain Shanto produced a captain’s hundred and forged two significant partnerships to put Bangladesh in a commanding position on the third day of the opening Test against New Zealand here on Thursday.
The hosts finished Day III on 212/3 with a lead of 205 runs. With seven wickets in hand, they will be optimistic about going 1-0 up in the two-Test series.
New Zealand, who made 317 in their first innings, would have to play out of their skin batting last in the spinner-dominated contest.
Shanto was batting on 104 when bad light stopped play with Mushfiqur Rahim on 43 at the other end. Shanto also became the first Bangladeshi cricketer to hit a century on his debut as captain.
He helped the team regain the upper hand after the loss of two openers in quick succession.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel got the better of Zakir Hasan (17) for the second time in the match.
Mahmudul Hasan, who top-scored for Bangladesh with 86 in the first innings, was run out in the unluckiest manner as a drive from Shanto touched bowler Tim Southee’s palm on the follow-through to hit his stump.
The two wickets in two overs brought the Black Caps back into the game but Shanto and Mominul Haque added 90 runs for the third wicket to give Bangladesh the edge.
Unlike his aggressive first-innings 37, Shanto stayed calm throughout the day to frustrate the New Zealand bowlers. He raised his fifth Test hundred off 192 balls and his third in the last four innings, pushing a fuller delivery of Patel past extra cover from a single.
Earlier, New Zealand resumed on 266/8 and went on to eclipse Bangladesh’s first innings total of 310 after Tim Southee (35) and Kyle Jamieson (23) put together a 52-run stand for the ninth wicket.
Brief scores: (At stumps, Day III): Bangladesh 310 & 212/3 (Najmul Hossain Shanto 104 n.o., Mushfiqur Rahim 43 n.o.; Ajaz Patel 1/94). New Zealand 317.