The scheduled day three arrived and finally we had some cricket. It was pretty bleak and dank, but at least there was cricket. And it was cricket played on a pitch that was a beautiful shade of green.
The similarities with the first day in Hamilton were pretty clear. Early on Southee and Boult couldn’t really get their lengths right, and the openers, especially Tamim got off to a flyer.
This was the third consecutive 50 run partnership for the Bangladesh openers; a feat achieved only twice before by a touring team in New Zealand. Tamim and Shadman can bat; we saw that in Hamilton.
But once the Don’t judge a pitch by its colour phase finished it was time to turn to the increasingly used Plan B.
And then once Wagner came on he used the pace in the pitch to cause his traditional problems with the shorter pitched attack. Unlike some claims elsewhere this was not Death Threats bowling; it was an accurate spell aimed at the chest. If this tactic was so easy then everyone would be doing it.
And under this attack the tourists lost their nerve, and let it all slip after being in a position of 119/1 just before lunch. All four of Wagner’s wickets were to short deliveries, but there were some pretty poor shot selections thrown in there. Even Henry got in the act with Soumya, who had looked so assured last week, trying to pull his way out of trouble.
When Boult returned he had rediscovered his radar, and end came pretty quickly.
Sure the pitch was green, but the real demons were the ones planted in the batsmen’s minds. And in lasting only 61 overs a chunk of the effect of losing two full days’ play is negated.
In the end Bangladesh made 211; in Hamilton it was 234.
Then the days diverged. The Bangladesh bowlers used the new ball well getting it to seam in both directions. It was also a reminder that Colin de Grandhomme was under-bowled this afternoon.
Both openers were gone with the score at 8 and suddenly 211 looked a long way away. Ross Taylor was having none of that though, as his recent trend of aggressive test batting continued. The counter-attack was just getting going when the rain came.
The other difference between the tests is due to those couple of days being lost. But with an improving forecast, pace in the pitch, and some extra hours being used this match is not a foregone conclusion. The pitch is likely to be quicker tomorrow and how it behaves under the promised sun will be an interesting one.
It is, however, pretty unlikely that Selfish Kane Williamson will get to score another selfish 200.