Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Black Caps shell early catches

Tamim Iqbal plays a shot on the first day of the second cricket test match against New Zealand in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo / AP
Tamim Iqbal plays a shot on the first day of the second cricket test match against New Zealand in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo / AP

New Zealand dropped Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal twice during the opening hour of the second test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka today.

Iqbal then made the visitors pay as he went to lunch with 50 next to his name as Bangladesh closed the morning session on 111-2 after they won the toss and chose to bat.

The left-hander's first reprieve came when he was on only five as he slashed at a wide one from seamer Doug Bracewell and wicketkeeper BJ Watling shelled the catch.

Watling arguably could have left the chance for Ross Taylor at first slip but he went for the ball and should have made the grab.

Then it was skipper Brendon McCullum's turn to put Iqbal down when he grassed a sharp chance at second slip when Iqbal was on 10, also from the bowling of Bracewell.

New Zealand did make an early breakthrough with the wicket of Anamul Haque, who tried to pull a short delivery from Trent Boult but couldn't get on top of the ball and was caught by Kane Williamson for seven, which left Bangladesh at 23-1.

As is the way in the sub-continent, McCullum waited until only the 12th over to introduce spin to the equation when youngster Ish Sodhi was given the ball as he showed improved control from the first test and was economical without taking a wicket.

Spinner Bruce Martin was overlooked for the test as New Zealand decided to pick Neil Wagner to bolster their seam attack.

Wagner's determination cannot be faulted and around 20 minutes before lunch he dismissed Bangladesh No 3 Marshall Ayub for 41 with a fine delivery, which broke a 67-run partnership between Ayub and Iqbal for the second wicket.

Ayub's departure didn't stop Iqbal though as he took to the part-time off-spin of Kane Williamson with a pair of fours and a single during Williamson's opening over as he brought up his 13th half-century in test cricket.

Iqbal loves to get on the front foot and was particularly harsh on any bowling that was over-pitched, while he scored 36 of his 50 runs in boundaries with a flurry of fours.

At lunch, Mominul Haque was at the crease alongside Iqbal on 12.

The decision by New Zealand's management to leave Martin out was always on the cards after he struggled in the first test in Chittagong last week where he returned match figures of 2-175.

Martin's first-innings effort of 0-113 from 27 overs was particularly concerning given he was the only New Zealand bowler to leak their runs at more than four per over and he failed to build any pressure on the Bangladeshi batsmen.

Dropping Martin indicated that New Zealand coach Mike Hesson is keen to see how Sodhi develops, while Williamson is continuing to contribute as a partnership-breaker who can pick up the odd scalp.

Sodhi didn't set the first test on fire with match figures of 3-169 but a young leg-spinner needs confidence and it would have been damaging for him to carry the drinks in this test match.


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