Cricket: Five reasons for cheer at Chittagong

If you look at it one way, the recently completed first test against Bangladesh was one of the dullest sporting spectacles in recent history.

Viewed through another prism, five days of slog on a Chittagong wicket with less life than a cemetery could be seen as a triumph of the human spirit.

We're sure there's worse ways of spending a Saturday evening than watching Two-metre Peter Fulton patting half-volleys back down the wicket; they just haven't been discovered yet.

So, in the spirit of optimism with which this is intended, here are five reasons to be cheerful about Chittagong.

1 Loss avoided
It's a different type of cricket, but in 2010 a draw would have been welcomed as New Zealand were trounced 4-0 by the locals. Given New Zealand's last two five-day outings also ended in big defeats, perhaps it was the height of arrogance to go to Bangladesh and expect a win as of right.

2 Kane more than able
Williamson will have tougher days at the office than the four-and-a-half hours it took him to post a century on day one. He already has, in fact, like when he denied the might of South Africa on the way to a match-saving century at the Basin Reserve in 2012.

Fact is, he has scored four test centuries in quicker time than it took the great MD Crowe, with three of them coming on the subcontinent. There's still a stack of improvement in the 23-year-old who now stands 20th equal on New Zealand's all-time century-makers' list. We're picking by the end of the New Zealand summer, Williamson will have just eight players in front of him.

3 Wagging tail
Neither has been credited with using their cerebral cortex much with the willow in hand, but Doug Bracewell (29) and Trent Boult (52 not out) gave an inkling of the potential of New Zealand's tail to add valuable runs. Bracewell has always had batting ability but Boult looks an improved product.

4 Question answered
After the first two home tests against England last year, fans asked how it had taken until Bruce Martin's 33rd year before he got a run in the national team. Now we know exactly why. After two tests he had nine wickets for 263 runs. After five tests, including this poor performance (0-113 and 2-62), he has 12 wickets for 646. Ish Sodhi's accuracy shortcomings could be put down in part to first-test nerves and inexperience, Martin's could not. Kane Williamson now shapes as New Zealand's most viable spin option.

5 Stats all folks
Much was made of Sohag Gazi's unprecedented double of a test century and a hat-trick in the same match, but don't overlook BJ Watling's statistical oddity. Watling became just the ninth New Zealander to score a century and a duck in the same test, behind Graham Dowling, Brian Hastings, Martin Crowe, who did it twice, John Wright, Craig McMillan, Stephen Fleming, Martin Guptill and Dean Brownlie. While both Crowe and Wright scored second-ballers, we believe Watling is the first to rack up a century and a golden duck.Sports Desk

- NZ Herald

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