Kane Williamson seized New Zealand’s run chase by the scruff of the neck to lead his side to an improbable seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh on the final day of the first Test at the Basin Reserve on Monday. (Virat Kohli betters Sachin Tendulkar’s record)
The New Zealand skipper scored 104 not out, reaching his century from 89 balls, and combined with Ross Taylor (60) in a 163-run partnership as the hosts reached 217 for three with 17.2 overs remaining in the match.
Henry Nicholls was on four when Williamson hit the winning run, a single out to deep mid-wicket.
The joy of victory, however, was tempered by an incident earlier in the day when Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim suffered a sickening blow to the head from a Tim Southee bouncer and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim is carried away by ambulance staff after being hit in the head during day five of the first Test cricket against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday (AFP)
Mushfiqur, who scored 159 in the first innings, had been battling to save his side after they had slumped to 96-5 having taken a 56-run lead into their second innings.
He did not return and his side eventually made 160 for nine, leaving New Zealand a victory target of 217 in 58 overs.
Bangladesh had scored 595-8 declared in their first innings and looked to be in charge of the game from early on the second day.
That moment ? #NZvBAN ^WN pic.twitter.com/d8VLFY5UFO— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 16, 2017
A draw, however, had been the most likely result until late on the fourth day when the hosts, who replied with 539, took three late wickets to give themselves a sniff of the unlikely victory.
They capitalised early on the fifth day, dismissing first innings double centurion Shakib Al Hasan for a five-ball duck.
Bowled em! Another precise yorker from Boult skittles the tail ender & Bangladesh innings closes @ 160-9. 217 to win in 57 overs #NZvBAN ^WN pic.twitter.com/R7hQXNgoIq— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 16, 2017
Once Shakib fell, the onus rested with Mushfiqur and Sabbir Rahman to bat out the rest of the day and stave off a potential morale-sapping defeat.
Their resistance, however, effectively ended when Mushfiqur was taken to hospital.
Sabbir threw away his wicket on 50 and despite a hobbling Imrul Kayes returning after retiring hurt on 24 on Sunday, New Zealand ran through the tail.
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor bats during day five of the first Test versus Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday. (AFP)
While Bangladesh took early wickets to reduce New Zealand to 39-2, Williamson and Taylor took control with the captain hitting three successive boundaries in the final over before tea from Taskin Ahmed to signal his intentions.
The hosts began the final session on 91-2, needing a further 126 runs in 38 overs to clinch victory.
“Credit to Bangladesh who contributed to a great match. We were always looking to get a result & never gave up on that.” – Williamson pic.twitter.com/MLLKcTt3aT— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 16, 2017
Williamson then took the game totally away from Bangladesh with a superbly controlled attacking innings after tea, racing through to his 15th Test century after he lost Taylor with victory in sight.
The second game of the two-match series starts on January 20 at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval.