Devon Conway scored a patient century, while Will Young made a workman-like half century as New Zealand overcame the loss of skipper Tom Latham to score 258 for five on the opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh here on Saturday.
Despite the loss of Latham for one in the fourth over of proceedings, the home side dominated the first two sessions of the day, largely through a partnership between a returning Conway (122) and Young (52) in the first home series Test of the World Championship cycle.
The pair put on 138, before Young was run out by Najmul Hossain Shanto.
Looking at the green tinge in the Bay Oval surface, the visiting team skipper Mominul Haque won the toss and elected to send the hosts in. Shoriful Islam struck first after Latham’s bat-pad edge found wicket-keeper Liton Das, though the tourists looked tentative with the ball, as Young and Conway shouldered arms often in the first half an hour.
The pair scored just 14 runs in the first hour of play, with Taskin Ahmed bowling four maidens in his first five overs. The pair moved through the gears in the second hour, with Conway hitting two boundaries in the space of three balls to open the floodgates.
Young added a boundary of his own in the next over, and the pair ticked over the fifty-run partnership in the final half-an-hour of the session. Mominul turned to the spin of Mehidy Hasan Miraz, though the hosts held firm to reach 66/1 by lunch.
Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque was eager to bowl on winning the toss and Latham said New Zealand would have done the same. The pitch at Mount Maunganui was greener than usual and Haque wanted to give his seamers the benefit of any early moisture left in the surface.
Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam bowled outstanding first spells, keeping the seam upright and hitting the pitch on a full length, moving the ball away from the right-handers.
New Zealand and Bangladesh put the impending retirement of Black Caps great Ross Taylor at the forefront of preparations for the first Test which starts at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
“He would love to go out with a 2-0 series win,” New Zealand skipper Tom Latham said after the Black Caps’ most prolific run-scorer announced he will put away his Test whites after the two-match series.
But Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said the tourists “want to try and make sure he doesn’t have a great send-off. But we know we have to bowl well to get him out.”
The New Zealand emphasis will be on its four-pronged pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson, who have kept the side unbeaten in their past 16 home Tests.
Bangladesh have never beaten the Black Caps and their batsmen have always struggled to adjust from their slow, turning wickets to the fast, green-topped pitches in New Zealand.
(With Agency Inputs)