Jeet Raval, who has struggled to score a century, and Tom Latham, who has made a habit of it, combined in a 254-run opening partnership Friday which placed New Zealand in command of the second cricket Test against Bangladesh after the second day at stumps.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls built on that foundation with a partnership of exactly 100 runs for the fourth wicket which ended when Nicholls was bowled for 53 five minutes from stumps. New Zealand was 451-4 at close of play with Williamson unbeaten on 93, a lead of 217 runs.
Latham, who was dropped without scoring in the first over of the New Zealand innings, made 166 — his third time past 150 in his last four Test innings. Raval, who has been past 50 eight times before but never beyond 88, posted a maiden century in his 28th Test innings before falling for 132.
Together the pair built New Zealand's highest opening partnership against Bangladesh and its third highest against all nations to lead New Zealand 20 runs past Bangladesh's first innings total of 234 before Raval was the first wicket to fall.
Raval's struggle to post his first Test century has been very public He has been solid and consistent at the top of the New Zealand order and with Latham has built a highly-successful opening partnership, one of New Zealand's best.
He began his Test career strongly with six half-centuries in his first 14 innings, including scores of 80, 84 and 88. But as time dragged on and a century eluded him, its absence became a burden he carried to the crease in every innings.
"It's been a long time coming so I'm very glad I was able to get over the line," Raval said. "I'm glad to get that monkey off my back.
"It's always in the back of your mind but my mind was set on doing my job for the team for as long as possible and along the way I was able to tick off this little benchmark."
Latham followed Raval to three figures in a similar innings: Raval reached the mark from 163 balls, Latham from 170. On a slow pitch at Seddon Park on Friday there were easy pickings for two established batsmen. The bounce was slow and runs were on easy offer for batsmen who play strongly square of the wicket.
Latham kept up his relentless accumulation of runs this season: he has now scored centuries in three consecutive Tests during the New Zealand domestic summer, following his unbeaten 264 in the first Test against Sri Lanka in December and his 176 in the second.
He lingers in 12th place on ICC world Test rankings, well behind Williamson, who is second, and Nicholls, who is fifth.
Latham and Raval ground down Bangladesh's main bowlers so they turned to part-timers with more success. Captain Mahmudullah removed Raval to a top-edged catch and Soumya Sarkar dismissed Latham, who was brilliantly caught by Mohammad Mithun at slip.
Soumya also dismissed Ross Taylor lbw for four.
(With AP Inputs)