New Zealand built two major partnerships around Ross Taylor’s unbeaten 185 to lead Bangladesh by 161 runs at tea on Monday on the fourth day of the rain-shortened second cricket Test.
After putting on 172 with captain Kane Williamson (74) in a partnership that ended before lunch, Taylor added 192 in an unbroken stand with Henry Nicholls to guide New Zealand to 372-3 at tea in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings of 211.
Taylor completed his 18th Test century before lunch and passed 150 from 157 balls, while Nicholls was knocking on the door of his fifth Test hundred at the interval.
Batting had been precarious on a green and seaming pitch throughout the third day and at the start of the fourth on Monday after the first two days of the match were entirely lost to rain.
But Taylor’s stand with Williamson, difficult at first but increasingly comfortable as it went on, marked a change in which the bat began to dominate ball for the first time. That carried on and even increased in the partnership between Taylor and Nicholls.
At tea, the pair was scoring freely against both the seamers and spinners and New Zealand appeared to be heading toward a position to make a declaration which might still allow it to force a win in a truncated match.
Taylor had hit 19 fours and four sixes in his 185 by the break and was easily picking his scoring areas, driving down the ground or hoisting the spinners over mid-wicket and long on.
Nicholls joined in, taking his half century from 65 balls and reaching 93 from 116 balls with eight boundaries.
New Zealand may be in a position to consider a declaration by stumps on Monday or early on the final day. With extended hours there are at least 98 overs to be bowled on the fifth day.
That strong position contrasted with the difficult spot New Zealand found itself in late on the third day.
Taylor and Williamson came together when New Zealand was 8-2, having lost both openers inside nine overs.
Williamson batted with the limitation of a painful shoulder injury, caused by a fall in the field. He left the Basin Reserve after his dismissal for 74 to undergo scans.
Williamson still batted freely enough on Monday to reach his half century from 67 balls, joining Taylor atop the New Zealand batting list with 30 half centuries in Tests. Only minutes later Taylor moved to 31 with a half century from 61 balls.