Thursday 22 March 2018 / 09:09 PM


Bangladesh went on a record-breaking rampage during the first two days of their series-opening Test against New Zealand in Wellington, but by the end of the match they had left more indelible marks on the history books – for all the wrong reasons.

Incredibly, despite posting 8/595dec in the first innings, the injury-ravaged tourists capitulated to lose by seven wickets on Monday, with the Black Caps ultimately cruising to victory in the final session with 16 overs to spare.

It was a remarkable climax to a match that seemed destined to peter out to a draw.

Bangladesh are now the disappointed owners of the all-time record for the highest score – which doubled as the nation’s second-highest ever – in a losing Test, surpassing Australia’s 586 in a defeat to England in Sydney 122 years ago.

Shakib Al Hasan crafted a sublime 217 from 264 balls in that innings – Bangladesh’s highest-ever individual score – which now sits as the fifth-most by a player in a losing effort, behind international greats Ricky Ponting (242 v India, 2003-04), Brian Lara (226 v Australia, 2005-06 and 221 v Sri Lanka, 2001-02) and Nathan Astle (222 v England, 2001-02).

Shakib Al Hasan and captain Mushfiqur Rahim (159) put together a Bangladesh-record 359-run partnership (also th fourth-highest fifth-wicket partnership of all time), which fell just four runs short of Pakistan duo Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan’s mark for biggest partnership in a losing Test.

The momentarily triumphant visitors earned a first-innings lead of just 56 runs, after Tom Latham (177) and Mitchell Santner (73) guided the Kiwis to a score of 539 all out 10 overs after tea on Day 4 at the Basin Reserve.

A result seemed near-impossible, but a few quick wickets – plus a leg injury that forced opener Imrul Kayes (who created a Test record of five catches in the previous innings, the most ever by a sub wicket-keeper) off – left Bangladesh vulnerable at 3/66 at stumps.

A dramatic morning session saw Bangladesh slump to 6/137, while skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, who had been unable to fulfil his wicketkeeping duties due to a hand injury, was rushed to hospital after being struck in the back of the head by a Tim Southee bouncer; he was cleared of serious injury, but took no further part in the match.

New Zealand required just seven overs of the second session to mop up the tail (despite Imrul Kayes’ courageous return), dismissing Bangladesh for 160 and leaving themselves with a very achievable target of 217 from 57 overs.

After a rocky start that saw openers Jeet Raval (13) and Latham (16) out with the score on 39, Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson (104 not out) scored a slashing 89-ball century and combined with Ross Taylor (60) for a 163-run stand in front of a sizeable crowd that had rushed to the hallowed venue in the capital to watch all kinds of history being made.

Bangladesh could be forgiven for their stunning surrender given the avalanche of injuries they endured, but there’s no question they will be crestfallen at losing a Test that promised to be one of the watershed performances in their international history.

Meanwhile, despite conceding a mammoth total in the first innings the Black Caps will be jubilant at pulling off one of their unlikeliest Test wins, one unprecedented in the history of the game.

And it’s not even their only rearguard Day 5 success of the summer: in November they sealed a series whitewash over Pakistan in a rain-affected second Test in Hamilton by claiming nine wickets in the final session of the match.

The tourists now dust themselves off for the second Test in Christchurch starting Friday, aiming to avoid their eighth straight defeat to New Zealand this summer across all formats.

Other notable stats to emerge from this extraordinary Test include:

-The first-innings aggregate of 1134 was the third-highest ever in a Test that produced a result.
-The difference between Bangladesh’s two innings of 435 runs is the seventh-largest in history.
-Kane Williamson now has a freakish average of 231 when chasing in the fourth innings of a home Test, while he became the first New Zealander to make three centuries in the fourth innings of a Test.
-Williamson’s 89-ball century was the fourth-quickest by any batsman when chasing.
-Williamson and Taylor’s partnership run-rate of 6.43 was the fastest for a 150-plus stand in the fourth innings of a Test.
-The Kiwis’ successful chase was their first over 200 runs since running down Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2008, while it was their fifth-highest successful chase ever.
-Shakib Al Hasan became just the seventh batsman ever to pair a double-century with a duck in the same Test – and it was his first nought for 62 Test innings.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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