Circle a draw as the most likely outcome over the next two days at the Basin Reserve, but pencil, rather than ink, it in.

And if you listen to the words of New Zealand's senior player Ross Taylor, who is playing his 10th test at the venerable old ground, you'd be wise to hold all tickets until late morning tomorrow.

Bangladesh, holding a lead of 303, have a second new ball available after three overs today. New Zealand, at 292 for three, have 396 as first target, thus taking the follow on option off the table for the tourists, who pulled their first innings up at 595 for eight.

''Test cricket is a funny game and sessions can dictate a whole five-day test," said Taylor, who has seen a few sights over his 79 tests.

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''That first session is going to be important and if we can see off the new ball and pass the follow on...there's still 190 overs, a lot of cricket to be played."

New Zealand batted assertively today, led by opener Tom Latham, who is on 119 and should be eyeing many more today.

Henry Nicholls is with him, on 35, but with some good fortune favouring him. They've added 87 - the fourth successive 50-plus partnership of the innings, after 54, 77 and 74, a feat last achieved for the first four wickets at Dunedin against Sri Lanka in 1997, aka Bryan Young's double ton test.

The pitch is good, but you were left feeling Bangladesh had rather missed a trick today.

Sure, they chipped out three wickets but for the final session the body language suggested they knew victory will be a tall order. There was a hint of going through the motions, with little bounce in the field.

Rather than turn the heat on New Zealand's batsmen with aggressive field settings and purposeful bowling, Bangladesh - with just three away wins in 43 tests - let things slide, dropped into a defensive ring and Latham and Nicholls weren't about to complain.

Bangladesh are just about one bowler down too, with debutant seamer Subashis Roy having had two warnings for running on the pitch in his followthrough.

Bangladesh were without their inspirational skipper Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps all day.

X-rays on his left thumb and right index finger showed no obvious break from a couple of blows during his 159 on Friday. The word is he can bat again if needed but won't take the big gloves unless the pain subsides.

Bangladesh opened with their gifted teenage offspinner Mehedi Hasan, which caught New Zealand by surprise, and he demanded attention from the batsmen and they got some good moments out of both debutant Taskin Ahmed and the slingy Kamrul Islam.

But the fielding was average and a couple of catching chances missed, including one weird moment when Nicholls got a leading edge to Mehedi and the ball skied towards cover, only to swerve back towards the pitch and fall between three pairs of hands.

Sabbir Rahman could not cling onto a low chance to the last ball of the day at silly point off Mehedi from Nicholls, who also survived a close DRS referral against Mehedi.

Latham was very good over a tick under five and a half hours, his shotmaking crisp, particulary through the off side, and he set the tone.

Kane Williamson and Taylor batted with a scintillating touch, but then got out when seemingly set on 53 and 40 respectively. The run rate was impressive.

The odds are short on a draw, but heed Taylor's words: don't completely write this match off just yet.