New Zealand will head into the final day of their one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hamilton firmly in the driving seat.
After declaring their second innings closed on 258 for five shortly after tea on day four – for a lead of 403 runs – the Black Caps ripped through the Bangladesh top order to leave the tourists facing the task of chasing 316 runs with just five wickets in hand.
Bangladesh began their chase in aggressive fashion with Tamim Iqbal flashing his blade from the off and regularly finding the boundary in his quickfire 30 from 19 balls.
But Daniel Vettori (two for 23) made the telling breakthrough in his first over and, after being smacked for six, he got the Bangladesh opener to sky the next delivery to long-off, where Daryl Tuffey took a good catch running back.
Junaid Siddique’s dismissal for eight was a bizarre one as Chris Martin’s delivery flew up in the air off the batsman’s gloves and landed on top of the stumps, dislodging the bails.
Aftab Ahmed (eight) was the instigator of his own downfall, going for a single that was never on and being unable to get back before Jeetan Patel got the direct hit.
Mohammad Ashraful’s disappointing tour continued when he was trapped leg before wicket by Vettori for two to leave Bangladesh reeling at 78 for four.
That quickly became 78 for five as Imrul Kayes inexplicably offered no shot and was bowled by Patel for 29.
That left Mushfiqur Rahim (10 not out) and Shakib Al Hasan (yet to score) with the ominous task of trying to repair the damage after they dug deep to get the visitors to 88 for five by stumps.
After the intensity of day three when Mahmudullah (115) and Shakib (87) hauled Bangladesh back from the brink with a 145-run stand to help the visitors to 408 in their first innings, day four meandered somewhat before Vettori brought an end to his side’s second innings.
Tim McIntosh top-scored for the hosts with 89 before becoming the third player to be run out following BJ Watling’s dismissal the previous night and that of Peter Ingram (13) in the morning session.
Martin Guptill very nearly became run-out victim number four but was given a reprieve one run shy of his second half-century when replays were inconclusive.
He finished with an unbeaten 56, while Brendon McCullum was 18 not out when Vettori called the pair in.
McIntosh and Guptill were also given lifelines by some average fielding from Bangladesh.
Having brought up his third fifty in the first ball after lunch, McIntosh gifted Mahmudullah a simple caught-and-bowled chance on 59 and could not believe it when the all-rounder grassed it.
Shortly afterwards Guptill, who was on 13, was dropped by Shafiul Islam in similar circumstances.
The Bangladesh bowler then coughed up another catch out on the boundary when McIntosh swept one off Mahmudullah which went for six to get the New Zealand opener into the 80s.
He lasted only another three overs though before a huge mix-up with Guptill resulted in his run-out when both players were stranded at one end and Rubel Hossain affected a direct hit at the other.
New Zealand began day four on nine for one and by lunch McIntosh and Ross Taylor had steered them to 116 for two following Ingram’s departure.
The first over after the interval saw both reach their half-centuries. McIntosh took a quick single, while Taylor’s sixth four took him to 51 off 67 balls.
The stylish right-hander failed to add another run to his total, though, as he holed out to Kayes off the bowling of Mahmudullah the very next over.
McIntosh was next to go, then shortly before tea Vettori’s short innings came to an end on 13 when he offered a simple catch to Ashraful to give Mahmudullah his second wicket.