Cricket: Visitors collapse after early showing

By Steve Deane

Leaving aside the fact there really aren't any cricketing giants in New Zealand to slay, Bangladesh's pre-tour billing as giant killers still looks a touch optimistic.

On the strength of yesterday's losing effort against Auckland, even Daniel Vettori's shell-shocked Black Caps will have little trouble repelling the tourists.

The tourists briefly flirted with impressiveness with the bat - thanks mainly to a slashing century from 18-year-old opener Tamim Iqbal. But their effort was better characterised by the batting collapse that followed a seam bowling display that could only be described as batter-friendly.

Certainly Martin Guptil seemed to be enjoying it when he pulled first change bowler Sajidul Islam out of the ground and on to the roof of the petrol station on the far side of Sandringham Rd.

Every Auckland batsman to take the crease managed at least one six in their innings.

It took the tourists just three overs to drop their first catch, and not much longer to spill a second.

Guptil and opening partner Paul Hitchcock both made the most of second lives once the hosts set off in pursuit of Bangladesh's fair-to-middling total of 242.

Guptil edged a sharp chance to Zunaed Siddique at second slip when he was just five, while Hitchcock was just 15 when Aftab Ahmed shelled a straightforward chance at point with the score at 38.

The opening stand was eventually broken at 81 in the 14th over when Hitchcock slapped Hazmal Hossein straight to mid off.

Guptil's hard hitting knock of 59 came to end when Mashrafe Mortaza took a fine diving catch in the outfield and Rob Nichol was bowled by Farhad Reza for 21.

But that was it for the tourists, with Richard Jones (85*) and Colin de Grandholme (34*) compiling an untroubled 98-run stand to close out the match with four overs to spare.

Bangladesh may lack the box office appeal of some of the more established cricketing nations but there's no doubting their positive approach to the game.

Positive, in fact, probably doesn't quite do them justice. Cavalier or reckless would be more apt terms to describe a batting effort that promised much when Iqbal was flaying the Auckland bowling to all parts of Eden Park's outer oval during his 113-ball century.

Greg Morgan was rewarded for a tidy spell with figures of 3-33.

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