Williamson: Bangladesh gave us a massive challenge

By Sports Desk March 03, 2019

Kane Williamson said New Zealand found it "as tough as Test cricket gets" to finish off spirited Bangladesh on day four of the first Test.

Soumya Sarkar (149) and captain Mahmudullah (146) held up the Black Caps with a magnificent fifth-wicket stand of 235 at Seddon Park on Sunday.

New Zealand wasted no time in wrapping up victory by an innings and 52 runs after the Tigers' sixth-best partnership in the longest format was ended when Trent Boult (5-123) cleaned up Sarkar.

Willamson, who made an unbeaten double century as his side posted their record Test score of 715-6 declared on day three, praised Bangladesh's fight after they were dismissed for 429 to fall behind in the three-match series.

"I thought the fight today was as tough as Test cricket gets," the captain said. "Yes, it was nice to be a long way ahead of the game but today was really tough Test cricket.

"It is what we expect, and we know Wellington is going to be another tough match."

He added: "I think it was a massive challenge for all the bowlers today. We were hopeful of wickets late in the evening yesterday, which was nice.

"But coming back today with Bangladesh having more freshness, we knew it was going to be a big workload for the bowlers. They were just trying to stick with plans for a long period, and perhaps force an error.

"I don't think any plan is sustainable forever. Bangladesh were brilliant how they adapted with that tactic. It didn't work very well for us today, so we had to go back to stop their quick scoring."

Related items

  • Ashes 2019: Paine expecting 'same old' Smith when batsman returns Ashes 2019: Paine expecting 'same old' Smith when batsman returns

    Tim Paine is not expecting any change in Steve Smith's attitude or application once Australia's talisman returns to action.

    Smith will miss the third Ashes Test at Headingley having suffered a delayed concussion after taking a blow to the neck from a fierce Jofra Archer delivery on Saturday.

    The 30-year-old, who will be replaced in Leeds by Marnus Labuschagne, has been the form player during the series, hitting 144 and 142 in Australia's win at Edgbaston before tallying 92 at Lord's - coming back out to bat after initially retiring hurt.

    Smith hopes to be back in time for the fourth Test, with Paine holding no concerns over the former captain's ability to come back strongly following the setback.

    "He's been in really good form, he's been playing really well, so he's disappointed not to be playing," Paine told a news conference.

    "He along with the rest of our group understand why he isn't [playing]. Steve loves batting, I don't think that’s going to change.

    "Steve's the best player in the world, he will come back in the next Test, if it's the next Test or the tour game [against Derbyshire, which starts on August 29], and we're expecting him to be the same old Steve Smith.

    "He's a high-quality player and he'll adapt as he always has."

    While Labuschagne's place in the side has been confirmed for the third Test, Paine opted not to give any details to the media over the rest of the XI on the eve of the match.

  • Watling confident after missed opportunities cost Black Caps in Sri Lanka opener Watling confident after missed opportunities cost Black Caps in Sri Lanka opener

    New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling believes the Black Caps can take plenty of positives into the second Test against Sri Lanka, despite a six-wicket defeat in the first match of the series.

    Dimuth Karunaratne scored a century in Galle to inspire Sri Lanka to a comfortable victory, ending a run of seven straight Test defeats to the Black Caps.

    Tom Latham's drop let Karunaratne off the hook early on day five, and though the hosts eventually lost their skipper when he edged Tim Southee behind, Sri Lanka had already done the bulk of the work in pursuit of their 268-run target.

    Watling, though, insists New Zealand played well in spells throughout the first Test, suggesting missed chances to dismiss Sri Lanka's key figures were crucial in deciding the outcome.

    "We're in a good space, we're very disappointed to have lost that match," Watling told a news conference ahead of the second Test in Colombo.

    "We'd got ourselves into a good position to win it and obviously, we let it slip a fraction. We felt like we played some pretty good cricket over the five days."

    "We lost some key phases of that game. We know it's tough to play in sub-continent conditions and then it'll all happen, and you can lose wickets.

    "It's about taking it that little bit deeper. We had a few good starts in the first innings and probably should have scored about 350 on that surface, but we let Sri Lanka back in the game and that cost us.

    "We bowled really well in the first innings and put them under a lot of pressure. Even in the second innings we missed a few chances that could have changed the game.

    "Our spinners bowled really well, asked a lot of good questions, but we didn't quite take those opportunities."

    Watling, who scored 77 in the second innings, added New Zealand cannot entirely blame themselves for the defeat.

    "Nobody is trying to drop a catch or miss anything. They were pretty tough chances. We have to give a lot of credit to Sri Lanka's batsmen, especially their opening partnership," he said.

    "They took it deep enough to win the Test match and hopefully we can look to make some more inroads into the top order and put the middle order under some more pressure."

    New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Sri Lanka bowler Akila Dananjaya were both reported for suspect bowling actions in the first Test.

    They will undergo testing within 14 days from the reporting date - August 18 - though they are permitted to bowl in Colombo.

  • Ashes 2019: Root urges England to 'jump on' third Test chance with Smith out Ashes 2019: Root urges England to 'jump on' third Test chance with Smith out

    Captain Joe Root says England must "jump on" the opportunity created by Steve Smith's absence for Australia in the third Ashes Test.

    Smith was inspirational in securing a 1-0 lead for Australia after two matches, but he will be missing from the third fixture at Headingley due to a concussion after taking a Jofra Archer bouncer to the neck last time out at Lord's.

    Archer was instrumental in England coming back into the series in the match, although the hosts ultimately settled for a draw.

    Root wants to see Archer impress again as he compared Smith's absence to when England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson hobbled out of the series opener.

    "When you're playing someone of his quality, you're looking for a number of different ways to get him out," Root said of Archer's approach to trying to dismiss Smith.

    "I felt the way that Jofra bowled in that spell made for great cricket. It's great to be on the field to be a part of that. We felt like we were creating chances all the time.

    "But you never want to see someone go off injured like that, you never want to see someone be walked off the field and for him to miss this game.

    "There was a lot of concern in our dressing room for his health. It's great to see that he's actually up and about and he's fine and looks as though he's happy within himself.

    "It's very unfortunate on their part. We had the challenge of Jimmy [Anderson] going down four overs into a Test match and had to manage that without a replacement.

    "You get these swings within a big series like this, every now and again, and when you get your opportunity, you've got to jump on it.

    "They'll be huge shoes to fill for whoever comes in for him in Australia's batting line-up and we've got to make sure that we keep trying to exploit these techniques on these wickets."

    Asked if Australia, led by Pat Cummins, might match Archer's aggressive assault on batsmen, Root replied: "We'll see. Those are things you have to manage within the game.

    "I feel like the guys know what type of bowling [Cummins] is capable of doing. We've seen him do that before in Test cricket. It's just about managing the situation when you face it.

    "If he does go to that and the conditions suit pitching it up and swinging it, and it plays into our favour, we'll have to wait and see."

    England have had their own concussion issue to deal with this week, with Jason Roy set for a final assessment on Thursday after passing an initial examination.

    Ollie Pope has been called in as cover and would likely come in at number four, with Joe Denly moving up to replace opener Roy.

    Root would not confirm the England XI regardless of Roy's fitness, as Sam Curran remains in contention after again being included in a 12-man squad.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.