Trent Boult’s eighth five-wicket haul broke Bangladesh’s spirited resistance, led by wonderful centuries from Soumya Sarkar (149) and Mahmudullah (146) as New Zealand secured an innings and 52-run win in the Hamilton Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Bangladesh were never in the game after they collapsed for 234 in the first innings despite Tamim Iqbal’s brilliant 126. Their worries mounted after Kane Williamson hit yet another double century and aided by tons from Tom Latham (161) and Jeet Raval (132), New Zealand reached 715/6 declared, their highest score ever in Tests. Bangladesh were boosted by another attacking 74 from Tamim but at 126/4, the game seemed to be up for the visitors.
However, Mahmudullah and Sarkar blunted the Kiwi pace attack and steadily changed the course of the match. The partnership between the duo evoked memories of the epic rear guard stand between Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews in the Wellington Test as Sri Lanka escaped with a draw. Sarkar notched up his maiden hundred in Tests and it showed his grit and fight at the highest level. Mahmudullah also notched up his fourth Test century and the partnership went past 200.
The 235-run stand between Sarkar and Mahmudullah was the second-best for Bangladesh in Tests, behind Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim who shared a 267-run stand for the same wicket against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2013. This was the sixth-best stand in terms of runs for Bangladesh, with the highest being 359 between Shakib Al Hasan and Rahim which was against New Zealand in Wellington in 2017.
The duo batted together for more than 54 overs but when Boult finally bowled Sarkar for 149, the 26-year-old left-hander stood motionless for several seconds as he realised the significance of his wicket before departing the ground. The remaining five wickets lasted only 18 overs. The Test was all over 68 runs later, just after tea on day four.
New Zealand have taken the lead in the three-match series and the second match will be held at the Basin Reserve from March 8. The tour will conclude with the third and final Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on March 16.