Tom Latham was closing in on a double century as New Zealand reached 349 for 1 at stumps to defy Hagley Oval's grim reputation for batters on day one of the second Test against Bangladesh in Christchurch on Sunday (January 9).
The New Zealand captain was unbeaten on 186 with Devon Conway on 99 as the Black Caps scored at will on a ground reputed to be a bowler's paradise on day one. New Zealand, desperate for a win to save the series after losing the first Test, have defied the green surface and been in control ever since they lost the toss and were sent into bat.
Latham and Conway have put on 201 for the second wicket after Latham and Will Young (54) produced a 148-run stand for the first wicket. Hagley Oval requires bowlers to maintain a good line and length to deliver wickets on its verdant surface, and Bangladesh were guilty of straying too often.
Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Ebadot Hossain fed New Zealand a diet of loose deliveries and as a result Bangladesh spent the day chasing the ball to the boundary at a ground were the average first innings score is 263.
Latham, who disappointed in the first Test with innings of one and 14, progressed at a consistent rate with his first 50 taking 65 deliveries, the second 68 and the third 66. His unbeaten 186 includes 28 fours, while Conway has 10 fours and a six in his 99.
The hundred moved Latham up to fourth on the list of New Zealand century-makers headed by Kane Williamson with 24. The only time he was troubled was in Ebadot Hossain's opening over when he was twice given out lbw only for the dismissals to be overturned on review.
Bangladesh appealed vociferously late in the day for Latham to be caught behind, but replays showed the ball missed the bat. After toiling fruitlessly through the morning session, Bangladesh missed a chance for a wicket in the first over after lunch in what turned out to be a seven-run farce.
A Will Young edge off Ebadot was dropped by Liton Das at third slip allowing New Zealand to run for three. As the bowler and fieldsmen expressed their frustration, the return throw went to the bowler's end where no one was backing up and the ball raced through to the boundary.
Much to Ebadot's annoyance, Young scored a five in his next over when he took a quick single and Mehidy Hasan's throw at the stumps from mid-wicket raced to the fence again.
Young was to make a further 21 runs before an attempted drive was grasped by Mohammad Naim at point to give Shoriful Islam the first and only wicket.
New Zealand 349 for 1 (Tom Latham 186*, Devon Conway 99*; Shoriful Islam 1 for 50) vs Bangladesh