Cricket: Onus on bowlers to help Blackcaps push for victory in first test against Bangladesh, concedes Kyle Jamieson

If the Blackcaps are to keep themselves in the mix to win the opening test against Bangladesh in Sylhet, the bowlers will have a huge role in keeping victory within New Zealand's grasp.  

At the close of play on day three, the hosts are 212/3 in their second innings, and in front by 205 runs.  

However, after 18 wickets fell across the opening two days in spin-friendly conditions, only five were taken on day three, as conditions appear to be swinging in favour of the batters.  

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto will resume on 104, joined by Mushfiqur Rahim (43 not out), currently having added 96 runs together.

The Blackcaps leave the field in Sylhet.
The Blackcaps leave the field in Sylhet. Photo credit: Getty Images

Every run Bangladesh scores from here will only make New Zealand's ask more difficult to win the series opener, or else force trying to bat out a draw across the final two days.  

Conditions, though, could make victory a tall order for either side though.   

If any evidence was needed of how batting is starting to be favoured, New Zealand's ninth wicket pair of captain Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson added 52 runs together, which took the Blackcaps into an eventual seven-run lead.  

And of the three wickets to fall in Bangladesh's second innings, two were run-outs.  

But despite the match situation being against the bowlers, the Blackcaps are confident in their abilities to push for that win.   

For Jamieson, who'll likely share the new ball when it becomes available 12 overs into day four, taking wickets will be key, or else risk Bangladesh batting New Zealand out of the contest.   

"That probably shows how good the wicket was for batting right? That me and Tim could bat for the first hour of the day," said Jamieson.  

"I think the wicket was definitely at its best for batting, so far. To get relative parity or to get seven [runs] ahead was nice.  

"But we definitely didn't think it was going to be easy to rock up in the second dig and knock them over.

"We've obviously got some work to do tomorrow to chip out a few more [wickets] and then go about chasing it down."  

As for what target could be achievable in the fourth innings, Jamieson admits he's unsure of where the Blackcaps should be aiming.  

Only one test has previously been played at Sylhet, and that saw the hosts fall to a 151-run defeat to Zimbabwe in 2018, failing to chase 321 in the fourth innings.  

And while conditions will likely dictate a higher total five years on, the Blackcaps will be comforted by anything under 300.   

"That's probably a question for some of the batters," he continued. "I've got no idea at the moment, I'm not even sure what [score] they're on.

"If we get a couple [of wickets] early tomorrow, we've shown we can take wickets in clumps and knock over the lower order pretty cheaply.  

"If we get a couple early, we'll go about getting a decent total for our guys to chase."  

The Blackcaps have never lost a test in Bangladesh, and boast a record of 13 wins from 17 matches against their hosts.  

Watch live, free-to-air coverage of the first test between the Blackcaps and Bangladesh on ThreeNow or follow live updates on Newshub from 4pm