Cricket: Bangladesh take early initiative on opening day of first test against Blackcaps at Sylhet

Two wickets just before tea on the opening day have swung momentum towards the Blackcaps, as they begin their World Test Championship campaign against Bangladesh at Sylhet.

After largely dominating the afternoon session, the home side lost their grip on the contest with the break in sight, stumbling to 184/4, after conceding two wickets in the space of four runs in consecutive overs.

Switching formats from a recent heavy dose of white-ball cricket, the rivals were confronted with a pitch expected to suit batters, but offering spin for the fielding side. 

The home team won the toss and elected to bat, with Blackcaps skipper Tim Southee admitting he would have done the same.  

Blackcaps celebrate a wicket to Glenn Phillips.
Blackcaps celebrate a wicket to Glenn Phillips. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand went with Southee and Kyle Jamieson as their only seamers in a line-up packed with spin options, spearheaded by specialists Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi.

None of them were Rachin Ravindra, a star performer with the bat in the recent World Cup 50-over format, but losing out to big-hitting Glenn Phillips in the test middle order.

Southee used an early review, when newball mate Kyle Jamieson struck Zakir Hasan on the pad in the second over, but replays suggested an inside edge off the bat.

New Zealand had to wait for the introduction of spin specialist Ajaz Patel for the first breakthrough, as he found the gap between bat and pad to dismiss Hasan in the 13th over, ending a 39-run opening stand. 

Elevated to the captaincy, Najmul Hossain Shanto acted quickly to nullify the man who dismissed India by himself three years ago, accelerating the scoring rate, and dispatching Patel for a six and a four in the same over, then repeating the dose four overs later.  

Bangladesh were hurtling towards their 100, but Shanto miscued a rank full toss from Phillips high to mid-wicket, where Kane Williamson took a tumbling catch. Shanto scored at better than a run a ball for 37 off 35, featuring three sixes, before he became he became Phillips' first test scalp.

The hosts eventually reached triple figures just before the break, with opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy unbeaten on 42.

Joy and Mominul proceeded to dominate the afternoon session, guiding Bangladesh to 180/2 with a partnership of 76 runs, but with tea looming, Mominul swung at Phillips outside the offstump and feathered a low bottom edge to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, who took a sharp reflex catch.

Mominul Haque in action for Bangladesh.
Mominul Haque in action for Bangladesh. Photo credit: Getty Images

Musifiqur Rahim strode to the wicket, but almost immediately lost established teammate Joy, who edged Sodhi into the slips, where Daryl Mitchell's big hands wrapped around the ball, before it could find the ground. Joy departed for 86 runs off 166 balls, but his lapse of concentration cost him a second test century and left two new batsmen exposed.

Bangladesh 184/4 (Joy 86, Shanto 37, Mominul 37; Phillips 2/25) at tea, day one