Records tumble as Bangladesh reaches 542-7 vs. New Zealand
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Shakib Al Hasan compiled a maiden double century and Musfiqur Rahman scored 159 in a record-shattering fifth-wicket partnership on Friday which lifted Bangladesh to 542-7 at stumps on the second day of the first test against New Zealand.
Playing his 45th test, the 29-year-old Shakib became only the third Bangladesh batsman to score a test double century after his current teammates Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur. At 206 he passed Tamim's record for the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in tests and he was out just before stumps for 217.
The pair put on 359 for the fifth wicket, the highest partnership for Bangladesh for all wickets against all nations, and the best for the fifth wicket by any nation against New Zealand. Bangladesh's total was its highest in tests against New Zealand, beating its previous best of 501, and was its fourth highest overall.
"It feels great when you contribute for your country," Shakib said. "It was important for me and the team to play well.
"We played ODIs and T20s against New Zealand and didn't do well (losing both series 3-0) but we knew we had the capability of doing better so today was the time for us to put our hand up and show we can do it in these kind of conditions.
"We didn't talk much. We just kept batting and thinking of our way of playing our shots and scoring runs."
The records may keep coming as skipper Mushfiqur showed no signs of declaring, even when Bangladesh lost three wickets, including Shakib's, in the last five overs of the day.
Bangladesh steadily ground down the New Zealand bowling attack, scoring 388 runs for the loss of only four wickets in the 94 overs that were bowled Friday. The first of those wickets fell in the second over of the day when Mominul Haque was out caught behind for his overnight score of 64 but the next, Mushfiqur's, fell 82 overs and 359 runs later.
Runs came at a rate of four per over and there had been 80 fours and two sixes in the Bangladesh innings.
"Our plan was just to keep watching the ball and playing the ball on its merits," Mushfiqur said. "We hadn't thought about a big partnership like this but if you could apply yourself and survive the initial burst Shakib told me it was pretty good to bat on if your are executing your shots.
"Probably there is part of the job done in the first innings but there is still three days to go and the wicket is really good so our bowlers will have to work really hard but I thought there is something there if our bowlers bowl well."
Shakib reached his maiden double century from 253 balls and passed many milestones along the way. At 71 he became the third Bangladesh batsman after Tamim and Habibul Bashar to score 3,000 runs in tests; at 161 the partnership between Shakib and Mushfiqur became the highest by a Bangladesh pair for all wickets against New Zealand; at 99 Shakib overtook Habibul (3,026) as the second-highest run-scorer for Bangladesh in test cricket.
At 312, the partnership set a Bangladesh record for all wickets against all nations, surpassing the stand between Tamim and Imrul Kayes against Pakistan in 2015.
Both players had notable let-offs. At 82, Mushfiqur got a French cut on a ball from Trent Boult, with the ball clipping leg stump but not dislodging the bails. On 137 Shakib appeared to have been caught down leg by wicketkeeper B.J. Watling off Neil Wagner, but replays showed the ball touched the ground as it bobbled from one of Watling's gloves to the other.
Shakib surpassed his previous highest test score — 144 against Pakistan at Dhaka in 2011.