Bangladesh had New Zealand on the ropes and were eyeing a historic victory after ripping through the hosts’ top-order on the penultimate day of the first Test on Tuesday.
Bangladesh have never before tasted success in New Zealand, losing all 33 matches played across three formats, including nine Tests.
But the odds of a first victory rose as they reduced New Zealand to 147 for five at stumps, a lead of just 17, with Ebadot Hossain at one stage taking three wickets for no runs in eight balls in his 4-39 off 17 overs.
New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi said all his world Test champions could do now was bat for as long as possible on the final day at Mount Maunganui.
“Bangladesh have had the upper hand on us for quite a massive part of this Test,” he said.
“We’ve got to play a positive style of cricket. We’ve got to get a lead that’s sufficient enough to defend.”
New Zealand’s top three scorers from the first innings, Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls and Will Young, have all been dismissed.
Captain Tom Latham and Tom Blundell then both fell without scoring, leaving Ross Taylor unbeaten on 37 with Rachin Ravindra on six at the close of play.
There did not appear to be any demons in the pitch, which is unlike a typical New Zealand Test surface, lacking an emerald green cover and showing little sign of wear after four days.
When Bangladesh were all out for 458, a 130-run lead on the fourth morning, Latham and Young took New Zealand to lunch at 10 without loss.
- Fielding woes -
But when play resumed, Latham (14) chopped Taskin Ahmed on to his stumps and Conway (13) edged Ebadot on to his pads and the ball ballooned to Shadman Islam, who took the catch.
Young and Taylor mounted a rescue mission but when their 73-run stand ended, with Young out for 69, Nicholls and Blundell quickly followed without bothering the scorers.
Bangladesh’s only problem on a dominant day was their fielding.
Liton Das dropped a regulation chance from Young early in his innings and Taylor also survived when he should have been out on more than one occasion.
Shadman spilled a straightforward offering from Taylor off Mehidy Hasan, and there was a run-out opportunity where Bangladesh originally threw the ball to the wrong end, and Taylor was still out of his crease when the throw went to the right end – but missed the stumps.
Bangladesh, sent into bat before lunch on day two, occupied the crease for 176.2 overs before Shoriful Islam was the last man out before lunch on Tuesday.
It was an impressive team effort with half-centuries for skipper Mominul Haque, Liton Das, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Najmul Hossain Shanto, as well as 47 from Mehidy.
When New Zealand thought they had seen off all recognised batsmen, Mehidy and Yasir Ali put on 75 for the seventh wicket.
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, Joy required stitches to a split hand, injured while fielding, and it was unsure if he would open the batting when Bangladesh begin the final chase.