Sports

New Zealand 292-3 after day 3, 1st test vs. Bangladesh

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Opener Tom Latham made an unbeaten century on Saturday as New Zealand moved to 292-3 at stumps on day three of the first test against Bangladesh, and closed in on avoiding the follow-on.

Bangladesh declared early Saturday at 598-5 but its hopes of bowling New Zealand out swiftly and enforcing the follow-on soon diminished as the Black Caps top-order performed strongly.

Latham was 119 not out at stumps — his sixth test century — and shared partnerships of 77 with Kane Williamson (57), 74 with Ross Taylor (40) and 87 with Henry Nicholls.

Nicholls, possibly playing for his test career after averaging only 24 through his previous 14 test innings, was 35 not out at stumps.

"Any time a team gets 590 you're always on the back foot," Taylor said. "The way the batsmen went out there, they were all positive right from ball one and the way Tom batted, led the way."

Latham was only the fourth New Zealand opener after Stu Dempster, Jack Mills and John Wright to score a test century at the Basin Reserve, a statistic which reflects the fact the ground was once known for pitches that favoured seamers and the new ball, but this deck has proven to be very benign.

By stumps on the third day 887 runs had been scored on a perfect batting pitch for the loss of only 11 wickets.

Bangladesh sprung a major surprise Saturday when it handed the new ball to teenage off-spinner Mehedi Hasan who, after taking 19 wickets at an average of 15 in his debut series against England, ended the third day of his third test with 0-82 from 26 overs.

It was the novice seamers who made inroads into New Zealand's batting lineup. Kamrul Islam, in only his third test, dismissed opener Jeet Raval (27) and Taylor to end with 2-53.

The major breakthrough of the day went to Taskin Ahmed, the young fast bowler on test debut, whose dismissed Williamson, the New Zealand captain and one of the prize scalps in international cricket.

The delivery angled in and straightened from a full length, but the New Zealand captain played away from his body and edged through to stand-in wicketkeeper Imrul Kayes.

Kayes filled in for Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahman who was unable to take the field because of a finger injury sustained while batting on day two.

Latham played a chanceless and patient innings, reaching his century from 167 balls with 12 boundaries.

Taylor was batting in a test for the first time since undergoing eye surgery. He had struggled to pick up the flight of the ball in recent games, and said his vision was now much improved. But he made a poor choice of shot at 40 and pulled a ball to Mahmudullah at square leg off Kamrul.