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24 April 2024

Nicholls' 98 puts New Zealand ahead

Pic: AFP


Henry Nicholls fell just short of a maiden Test century Monday as he led New Zealand to a 65-run first innings lead over Bangladesh in the second Test.

The New Zealand innings ended on 354 with the bizarre run out of Neil Wagner and Bangladesh, who faced 10 overs before lunch, were 20 for one at the break.

Wagner (26) was given out after he had completed two runs with Trent Boult.

He grounded his bat as he passed the crease, but in the fleeting moment when wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan whipped the bails off, Wagner was mid-stride with neither foot on the ground and had lifted his bat.

Nicholls, who had been struggling before the Bangladesh series, delivered a personal best 98 as he shepherded the New Zealand tail.

The 25-year-old left-hand batsman put on 30 with Tim Southee (17) for the eighth wicket and 57 with Wagner before he was the ninth to fall.

Before the Bangladesh series, Nicholls had averaged less than 19 in six innings since his previous best 76 against South Africa in August.

After New Zealand resumed the day at 260 for seven, Bangladesh did not help themselves with some sloppy fielding including two dropped catches to take their innings tally to six.

Southee was let off on 15 by Mehedi Hasan at second slip. Mehedi was then moved to short extra cover where made no mistake when Southee, having added two more runs, chipped a ball from Shakib Al Hasan.

Wagner, struck three times on the helmet during the fiery short-ball exchange in the first Test, took another blow to the head early in the innings.

He was also the beneficiary of a dropped catch on seven and successfully reviewed an lbw dismissal on the next ball.

Nicholls took New Zealand past the 300 mark and bettered his previous Test best with back-to-back boundaries off Kamrul Islam.

But the nerves were showing as he approached the century mark. On 97 an inside edge whistled past his stumps and one run later he was bowled by Mehedi.

Southee removed Tamim Iqbal for eight at the start of the Bangladesh second innings to claim his 199th Test dismissal.

One more wicket will make him the fifth New Zealander to reach the 200 milestone.

New Zealand lead the two-Test series 1-0.