This test began poorly for New Zealand and didn't improve on the second day as Bangladesh put the hosts in a headlock at the Basin Reserve today.

There's much to play in the remaining three days, but the feeling is strong: there's only one team that can win the test from here, and it's not New Zealand, although they'd dispute that.

Which is not to say Bangladesh are going to go on and confound all predictions and pull off their first international victory of any sort over New Zealand, in this country.

A hunch would have it that the pitch will have the final say.


Bangladesh will start tomorrow at a whopping 542 for seven - and although captain Mushfiqur was boxing clever tonight, expect them to bat on, look to go past 600 and see what New Zealand are made of.

''Let's see," he responded when asked his thoughts on the start of play tomorrow.

The day belonged to Mushfiqur and his star allrounder Shakib al Hasan, who put on an outstanding 359 for the fifth wicket, the fourth highest partnership for that wicket in all test cricket.

Just 46 more and they would have erased Australian legend Don Bradman and Sid Barnes from the record books for the highest alltime stand for that wicket.

They were, simply, too good for New Zealand. The pitch helped but New Zealand were unable to maintain any pressure.

Shakib remarked that he and Mushfiqur figured there would be a loose ball or two coming along at regular intervals, so they could sit tight and wait for them.

At times there were handy little spells but there was no ability to sustain it, to put a squeeze on the batsmen, both of whom completed their fourth test centuries - in Shakib's case going onto Bangladesh's highest individual test performance, 217.

Shakib - 418 minutes, 276 balls and 30 fours - cut New Zealand to pieces. He was fed too much ball outside off stump and he simply clattered it through the region from third man round to cover point.


Mushfiqur - 365 minutes, 260 balls, 23 fours and one six over his 159- drove impressively, through the offside and down the ground.

Where Shakib gave a couple of chances -- and how every one of those 30 boundaries must have burned for Mitchell Santner, who'd dropped him on four late on the first day -- the captain went chanceless.

There was considerable pride for the pair.

Shakib said he'd never batted remotely as long as he did today, but as this wasn't Dhaka he hadn't needed to change his gloves once.

They scored at a rapid rate, getting 388 runs in the elongated day. They're going at a healthy 3.98 over the innings. You couldn't fault the entertainment value. At times the pair fair hared along.

There were rewards late in the day for New Zealand, but this was not a day to look back on with any fondness at all.

Some of the ground fielding was sloppy, poor returns being sent in; Ross Taylor spilled Shakib on 189, diving right at backward point; and BJ Watling appealed for a catch down the legside off Tim Southee which was ruled out as it clearly brushed the ground on replay.

Mushfiqur, a man for an occasion, raised the Bangladesh record for any wicket by lifting his opposite Kane Williamson for six over long on.

''They've played extremely well, in an aggressive manner and when we've missed they've put it away," an admiring Southee conceded.