New Zealand gave Ross Taylor a memorable farewell from Test cricket with an innings-and-117-run win against Bangladesh in Christchurch inside three days. That helped the home side square the series after they had lost the first Test by eight wickets. Taylor, with his family in attendance at Hagley Oval, took the last wicket of the Test when Tom Latham held his sixth catch of the match, from a miscued slog by Ebadot Hossain.
Bangladesh were bowled out for 278 in their second innings after following on, with four wickets for Kyle Jamieson and three for Neil Wagner. But it was Litton Das’ counter-attack in the third session, which gave him his second Test hundred, that was one of the highlights of the day.
Not that Bangladesh ever really looked like they would make New Zealand bat again, as the next best individual score for them was Nurul Hasan’s 36, and the best partnership the 101 Litton and Nurul put up for the sixth wicket.
Bangladesh were quite a way from even dreaming of replicating their win in the Mount Maunganui Test last week. Nonetheless, they will go back home proud of the result – a 1-1 draw topped everything they had done in the country previously.
The fight was on show after tea on Tuesday. Litton, who took 46 balls to score his first boundary, had reached 33 off 64 balls when he changed the mood. He struck 17 runs off Jamieson in the 59th over, hitting him for two fours and an upper-cut six. Both fours were pulled, dissecting a packed on-side field. He then struck four boundaries off Trent Boult with some delightful shots. After getting to his half-century off a guided four through point, he drove Boult through mid-off, cover and straight down the ground, arguably his best shot of the innings.
Litton had taken 35 runs off 12 balls in that period, and the sixth-wicket partnership had crossed the 100 mark. Nurul only needed to hold one end up. Instead, he holed out to mid-off where Wagner took a diving catch to his left.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz followed after seven overs, when Latham took his fifth catch in the slips in the Test, off Jamieson. Litton, however, continued towards his second Test hundred, hammering Wagner with the last of his pulled fours. He then swatted Wagner over the covers, soon after Wagner had a few words to say to him.
Another ramped four and a quickly run two, off Jamieson, took Litton to the three-figure mark. He saluted his dressing room a la Ebadot in celebration. Jamieson, however, got Litton in the end, getting one to slip past his straight bat, to get him lbw. Jamieson added a fourth when Tim Southee ran back from mid-on to complete Shoriful Islam’s catch.
Having followed-on 395 runs behind, Bangladesh had started their second innings very cautiously. The openers Shadman Islam and Mohammad Naim left more deliveries than they played against the new ball. But after 55 minutes, Shadman was caught down the leg side off Jamieson.
Najmul Hossain Shanto spent an eventful hour at the crease after that, hitting Wagner for three fours and a six. But it was the left-arm quick who had the last laugh in that mini battle, Shanto out caught at fine-leg where Boult took a tumbling catch.
Debutant Naim’s vigil of two hours and 40 minutes ended when Latham took a brilliant catch diving to his left at second slip. Southee had Mominul Haque caught at first slip, giving Taylor his 163rd catch in Test cricket. Yasir Ali was targeted with the short ball in his nine-ball stay, finally ending when he got into a tangle against Wagner.
The visitors would have felt the full pressure of New Zealand’s four-man pace attack if not for the Litton-Nurul counter-attack, giving them a little bit to take back from what was a poor performance overall – in the Test, not the series.