Hamilton, Mar 3: Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, was delighted with his bowlers after they helped seal an emphatic innings-and-52-run victory against Bangladesh in the first Test here on Sunday.
Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah scored centuries as Bangladesh, having been bundled out for 234 in the first innings, launched a stirring fightback in the second. They resumed the fourth morning trailing by 481 runs, but though they managed cut the deficit down, New Zealand prevailed. Trent Boult returned his ninth Test five-wicket haul, and Bangladesh were bowled out for 429, still a long way short of New Zealand’s record 715/6 declared in the first innings.
“We knew coming in today, it was going to be a big push with the ball,” said Williamson. “We knew the surface was not going to offer a huge amount – we’d thought the cracks might have opened up a little bit more."
“But we also knew that Bangladesh have a lot of quality in their batting line-up, and they showed that today. It’s great we were able to stick together for a long period of time, break that partnership, which was a good effort for them, and take the rest of the wickets," he said.
“I thought throughout this whole Test, the bowlers were outstanding. There wasn’t a huge amount for the bowlers, there wasn’t a lot of seam movement. There was a little bit of swing, but then it flattened out. In saying that, they did get bounce, so that was something we tried to extract as much as we could with the short ball," the New Zealand captain said. “But today, Bangladesh certainly combated that well and put together a fantastic innings. A lot of credit to the way the guys bowled and being able to take 20 wickets,” he said.
However, the victory for New Zealand – No. 2 on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings – was driven by the batsmen. All of Jeet Raval, Tom Latham and Williamson reached three figures, with the New Zealand captain going on to notch his second career double-century, an ICC report said.
For all his brilliance, however, Williamson said it was the Latham-Raval partnership, worth 254 runs, that set it up for New Zealand. “It was an outstanding partnership. Tom’s been brilliant the whole summer, almost every game. He’s just churning them out, which is brilliant for us,” said Williamson.
“Jeet as well, he’s made a number of contributions, but I guess an extra large one – a big hundred – was so pleasing for him, but also for us as a team. A partnership like that put us in a really strong position,” he said.
Mahmudullah, the Bangladesh captain, had a good day himself, scoring his fourth Test century during his 229-ball 146, but said it “is not of any benefit if you don’t end up on the winning side”.
He did, however, pick out the positives. “The wicket was very good to bat on, we missed opportunities in the first innings,” he said. “From 121/1 in the first innings, we collapsed, and I think that was a valuable opportunity that we missed. If we had put up a better total in the first innings, it would have been better for us.
“It’s a learning curve for the young bowling attack. The good thing is that they’ve got the courage to play for Bangladesh, to play Test matches. They’ve got some pace as well. I think they need to put it in the right areas all the time, consistency is the main thing for them now,” Mahmudullah added.The second Test will be played in Wellington from March 8. (UNI)