Recalled test opener Matthew Bell ended one embarrassing sequence for New Zealand cricket yesterday as Bangladesh also revealed a defiant streak to suggest their own statistical woes could yet be
modified on University Oval.
The second day of the first cricket test was one of contrasting fortunes for the hosts, with joy for centurions Bell and Jacob Oram later tempered by an ineffectual bowling display that enabled Bangladesh's openers to construct a record, unbroken opening stand of 148.
Tamim Iqbal and Zunaed Siddique will attempt to erase the remaining 72 runs of a first innings deficit tomorrow as they bid to join the New Zealand pair in the hundred club when they resume on 72 and 69
Bell was the first to craft a test century on the sport's newest international venue yesterday and when the Wellingtonian glided a single to third man before lunch he not only marked his return from a six-year exile in the most timely fashion.
His second century also represented the first by a New Zealand opening batsman in 22 tests.
The compact right-hander's 107, aided by a fortuitous leg before wicket decision on 97, represented the first time a New Zealand opener topped three figures since Stephen Fleming made 117 against England at Trent Bridge in June, 2004.
The calibre of opposition may be markedly different, but by showing the required fortitude Bell has undoubtedly cemented his involvement in the summer's main event - England's two-month tour in February-March.
"I'm absolutely rapt I could do it out there," Bell said.
"It's a fantastic feeling to score another hundred for New Zealand and really it's just a continuation of some good form for Wellington."
Bell's his comeback innings consumed 4-1/2 hours and absorbed 184 balls until he was adjudged leg before wicket to Mohammad Ashraful.
Only Oram was capable of following his lead as the remainder of the top and middle order ignored a good opportunity on a surface batting easier by the over.
Oram also converted his overnight score of 17 into three figures, posting his fourth test century with his 16th boundary three balls after lunch.
The meaty allrounder added another and deposited Ashraful's gentle spin into the carpark before his demise triggered a collapse that reinvigorated the flagging tourists.
Mashrafe Mortaza struck twice with first use of the new ball, ending Oram's 166-ball stay when an attempted cut cannoned on to his stumps.
Kyle Mills took guard, and took off, next ball giving wicketkeeper Mushfiq Rahim the easiest of his three catches and although Iain O'Brien survived the hat-trick New Zealand ultimately lost four for 37 before
the innings ended on 357.
That saw Chris Martin stranded on a career-best 12.
The bowling spearhead's comical batting has long been a source of amusement but the laconic tailender had the last laugh yesterday, reaching double figures for the first time in 49 test innings on the back of a consummate cover drive and a more stock-standard snick past the wicketkeeper.
However, the jovial mood among a crowd of 1791 steadily evaporated as young test debutants Tamim and Siddique effortlessly ate into a 220-run arrears, to practically guarantee Bangladesh will not slump
to a fifth consecutive innings defeat in this, their 50th test.
The post-tea plunder accentuated Tamim's one glaring letoff when O'Brien circled a mistimed pull shot at mid on before grassing the chance when the cultured left-hander was on eight.
Tamim made the most of his reprieve and raced to his second consecutive half century off 52 balls.
Siddique took his time but he still put the bad ball away, striking 10 boundaries.
The ease at which they rebuffed New Zealand's attack caused the crowd to become restless and Mills' frustration was also apparent when Tamim cover drove him for four then top edged a six into the sightscreen off consecutive balls.
First innings 137
T Iqbal not out 72
Z Siddique not out 69
Extras (4lb, 3nb) 7
Total (for 0 wkts, 39 overs) 148
Bowling: C Martin 10-0-48-0 (2nb), K Mills 7-1-33-0, I O'Brien 4-0-23-0 (1nb), D Vettori 12-4-33-0, J Oram 6-2-7-0.
C Cumming lbw b Islam 1
M Bell lbw b Ashraful 107
P Fulton b Hossain 14
S Fleming c Rahim b Islam 14
M Sinclair lbw b Mortaza 29
J Oram b Mortaza 117
B McCullum c Siddique b Ashraful 7
D Vettori c Haque b Hossain 32
K Mills c Rahim b Mortaza 0
I O'Brien c Rahim b Mortaza 5
C Martin not out 12
Extras (4b, 10lb, 2w, 3nb) 19
Total (91 overs) 357/10
Fall: 5 (Cumming), 31 (Fulton), 58 (Fulton), 121 (Sinclair), 260 (Bell), 270 (McCullum), 320 (Oram), 320 (Mills), 340 (Vettori), 357 (O'Brien).
Bowling: S Hossain 18-0-95-2 (1nb), S Islam 19-2-71-2 (1nb 2w), M Mortaza 23-3-74-4, E Haque 22-4-57-0 (1nb), M Ashraful 9-0-46-2.
With no All Blacks match this weekend, what will you tune in to for your sports entertainment fill?