Mominul 181 makes New Zealand sweat

Bangladesh

A big, maiden Test century from batsman Mominul Haque afford Bangladesh a substantial total of 380 for seven – in reply to New Zealand's 469 all out – on day three of the series opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Friday.

A big, maiden Test century from batsman Mominul Haque afford Bangladesh a substantial 380 for seven – in reply to New Zealand's 469 all out – on day three of the series opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.

Haque's 181, which spanned all of 274 deliveries and featured 27 boundaries, weighed in as the country's third highest individual score. Only captain Mushfiqur Rahim's 200 and former skipper Mohammad Ashraful's 190 – both against Sri Lanka in Galle earlier this year – have done better.

While Friday's total left the hosts with a deficit of 89, the remaining three wickets and the collective ambition of aspiring all-rounders Sohag Gazi and Abdur Razzak – in reasonably easy conditions for batting – suggests a nominal lead come the weekend.

Gazi was unbeaten on 27 at the close of play, providing a fitting cap to the hard work done by Haque, Rahim's 67 and all-rounder Nasir Hossain's 46. The visiting attack, meanwhile, reflected on a difficult workout.

With new-ball bowlers Doug Bracewell and Trent Boult's initial breakthroughs on Thursday promptly resigned to the past, spinners Bruce Martin and Ish Sodhi, all-rounder Corey Anderson and part-timer Kane Williamson struggled throughout.

Debutant Sodhi was consoled by the belated wicket of Hossain, while Anderson cherished some tight economy and the eventual removal of Mominul. Bracewell and Boult, however, would have wanted better from the second new ball.

The day – and the accolades – ultimately belonged to the talented Haque, who showed maturity beyond his 22 years and 12 days. The recipient of a new highest first-class score and a leading candidate for the Man of the Match award, the left-hander is a genuine find for Bangladesh cricket.

The fixture is taking outstanding shape, with early wickets or quick runs on the weekend sure to force the edge. A forecast of intermittent thundershowers, though, might interfere. Regardless, this remains a tough challenge for a Black Caps unit placed considerably higher than their spirited opposition in the International Cricket Council rankings.

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