Bangladesh’s spinner Taijul Islam’s consistent prowess with the ball in the first Test against New Zealand have put Tigers on the brink of a historic victory after Day 4 at the Sylhet International Stadium on Friday.
Chasing a mammoth total of 332, after the end of the day’s play, New Zealand are now teetering at 113/7, needing 219 runs more, with only 3 wickets in their bag. Nothing less than a miracle can save the Kiwis from this point. If the inevitable happens and Bangladesh win, it will be the first time that the Tigers have beaten New Zealand in a Test match on home soil.
Taijul Islam showcased yet another gem of spin bowling spell in the second innings, as just like in the first innings, he scalped four wickets again to push New Zealand close to the jaws of defeat.
Failing to neutralize Taijul's threat, New Zealand are now at knife-edge of a defeat against a Bangladesh team, who are without most of their star players.
With three wickets in hands, the visitors still need 219 for an unlikely victory. On increasingly deteriorating pitch, it's an improbable task when the Kiwis come on to bat on Day 5.
Daryl Mitchell batted patiently to end the day on 44, with Ish Sodhi on 7. Opener Devon Conway made next-best 22. Offspinners Mehidy Hasan (1-31) and Nayeem Hasan (1-24) played a perfect foil to Taijul to further trouble the New Zealand batters.
Bangladesh which were bowled out for 310 in its first innings, put up 338 in the second innings before being all out. New Zealand were bundled out for 317 in their first innings.
The first breakthrough for Bangladesh came from an unlikely source as pacer Shoriful Islam struck in the very first over when Tom Latham edged a delivery to wicket-keeper Nurul Hasan Sohan for a duck.
Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam who claimed 4-109 in the first innings got the prized scalp of Kane Williamson who made just 11, trapping him leg-before to leave New Zealand 19-2.
Bangladesh were hugely pumped up by getting the big wicket of Williamson early, considering the fact that the batter has unarguably been the best against spin attack in the world.
Williamson's first-innings 104 was key in keeping the Kiwis in the Test in a pitch, where no New Zealand batters other than him could get past 50.
Miraz then put Bangladesh firmly on top, taking out Henry Nicholls for 2 as New Zealand stuttered at 30-3 in 13th over.
Opener Devon Conway was playing with positive intent with wickets falling around him. He perfectly swept the spinners to keep the scoreboard moving before Taijul had him caught by Shahadat Hossain at short leg.
With New Zealand at 46-4, the onus was on Mitchell but he found little support from other end.
Wicket-keeper batter Tom Blundell (6) was stifled by Taijul before edging a turning delivery behind before Nayeem pegged back the visitors further reviewing one successfully to remove Glenn Phillips.
Soon after when Taijul got the better of Kyle Jamieson (7), Bangladesh got a sniff to wrap up New Zealand innings on day four. But Mitchell and Sodhi survived a tricky 30 minutes before the bad light forced the stumps.
Earlier, Miraz was key in helping Bangladesh take the lead past 300, scoringa 50 not out.