Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah put a brave fightback in the second innings hitting a century each but they could not help Bangladesh avoid an innings defeat in the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Sunday.
Soumya struck 149 off 171 balls and in the process equalled the record of fastest Test century for Bangladesh before Mahmudullah added 146 off 229 balls but Bangladesh were all out for 429 runs in the second innings to suffer an innings and 52-run loss inside four days at Seddon Park.
Faced with a deficit of 481 runs in the first innings, Bangladesh, who resumed the fourth day’s play on 174-4, needed to produce a miracle to make New Zealand bat again, let alone escape the defeat.
The odds were heavily against the Tigers, who never scored more than 382 runs in the second innings of a Test match outside home, but unbeaten on 39 overnight, Soumya had a different idea in his mind.
Soumya and his fellow overnight batsman Mahmudullah, who resumed on 15 in the morning, had Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis to take an inspiration from as the duo put a match-saving 274-run stand in Wellington only few months ago against New Zealand.
Unlike Mathews and Mendis, Soumya and Mahmudullah, however, preferred to use aggression as their best tool of defence and left New Zealand bowlers a little bit unsettled with their quick batting in the opening session.
Soumya struck leg-spinner Todd Astle for a huge six over long on to move into 90s before a boundary and single off Tim Southee in the next over to complete his maiden Test hundred off 94 balls, equalling the record of Tamim Iqbal’s 94-ball century at Lord’s against England in 2010.
Mahmudullah complemented with a six off Astle in the next over to bring off his own fifty as Bangladesh started feasting on New Zealand bowling to finally leave their captain Kane Williamson somewhat concerned.
Trent Boult provided the hosts some respite by breaking their 235-run fifth wicket stand partnership when he bowled Soumya, who hit 21 fours and five sixes, one of which flew out of the ground.
Soumya stood in silence for few seconds as he realised what his wicket could mean for Bangladesh and it was evident soon once next batsman Liton Das dragged one off Boult onto his stumps to get bowled for one.
It left stand-in skipper Mahmudullah, who already got his fourth Test hundred and third of the season, as the lone recognised batsman at the crease but he did not shy away from playing his shots.
Southee ended his resistance, Mahmudullah, who hit 21 fours and three sixes, before dismissing Ebadat Hossain in the same over to wrap up Bangladesh’s innings and complete New Zealand’s win.
Boult claimed highest 5-123 for New Zealand in the second innings.
The second Test of three-match series will start on March 8 in Wellington.
-With New Age input