Late Bangladesh wickets leave 2nd test vs. NZ evenly poised

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) Bangladesh spinner Shakib Al Hasan took three wickets within eight balls late in Sunday’s play to send New Zealand to stumps on day two at 260-7 in its first innings, leaving the second test at Hagley Oval evenly poised.

Shakib used drift and flight to trap Mitchell Santner lbw for 29 with the fourth ball of his sixth over, then bowled B.J. Watling (1) and Colin de Grandhomme (0) with the third and sixth balls of his seventh over to turn the course of the test on its head.

Half centuries by Ross Taylor (77), Tom Latham (68) and Henry Nicholls, who was 56 not out at stumps, had lifted New Zealand to 252-4 in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings of 289, giving the home side the upper hand.

But the hard work of the top order was undermined by the brief collapse close to stumps, which came 50 minutes early due to rain.

Shakib’s success capped an outstanding bowling performance by Bangladesh on a pitch which is hard and fast but offered little seam or spin.

Latham negotiated a rocky first session in which New Zealand lost the wickets of Jeet Raval (16) and Kane Williamson (2) within two balls.

Raval was dropped twice in slips before chopping a ball from Kamrul Islam onto his stumps and Williamson edged a superb outswinger from the same bowler to wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan.

Latham helped New Zealand reach lunch at 70-2, then combined with Taylor in a 106-run partnership for the third wicket which put the home team in a strong position.

Latham was struck on the helmet by a bouncer which left him dazed but unhurt. He composed himself to reach his half century from 87 balls; his sixth 50 in his last seven tests which is a better run of form than any other New Zealand batsman has achieved.

Taylor scored slowly at first but grew in confidence and reached his 27th half century in tests from 60 balls, rushing to the milestone with two fours and a six in four balls from Rubel Hossain.

The pair was on top of the Bangladesh attack when Latham was caught behind for 68 off Taskin Ahmed and Taylor followed soon after, holing out at midwicket off Mehedi Hasan. Taylor became the third New Zealand player after Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum to surpass 6,000 runs in tests.

Henry Nicholls was left to rebuild and did so in an innings which was riddled with chances but also full of character, reaching 56 not out by stumps.

”They bowled really well this morning and were pretty demanding on a good length on a wicket that did a little bit,” Latham said. ”They bowled good areas before lunch and it was good me and Ross managed to get through that period.

”Ross is a fantastic player and he’s been a great player for many years for New Zealand and that’s another milestone that he’s ticked off today. I’m sure he’s got many more to come.”

Shakib ended the day with 3-32 from seven overs and Kamrul 2-48 from 13.