Ross Taylor overcame the trials of a green pitch and an injured captain to post his third double century, steering New Zealand into a winning position Monday on the fourth day of the second Test against Bangladesh on Monday.
Through Taylor's partnerships of 172 with Kane Williamson, who struggled with a shoulder injury, and 216 with Henry Nichols, who made his fifth Test century, New Zealand was able to declare at 432-6, a lead of 221 runs.
New Zealand vs Bangladesh, 1st Test: Skipper Kane Williamson gives credit to his bowlers for innings-victory
At stumps, Bangladesh was 80-3, still 141 runs behind, leaving New Zealand all of the last day to press for an unlikely victory in a match reduced to three days.
The possibility of such a win seemed slight when the first two days were entirely lost to rain and when the New Zealand batting lineup was in trouble late on the third day.
Taylor came to the crease with New Zealand 8-2 in reply to Bangladesh's first innings of 211, forced to bat in approaching darkness on a green pitch that produced sharp seam movement and venomous bounce.
With Williamson, he guided New Zealand to 38-2 at stumps on the third day, then continued to lead the home team's innings in difficult batting conditions at the start of the fourth day.
Taylor played forcefully at anything short or wide of the stumps. Taking risks, he was twice dropped on 20 in the same over from Ebadot Hossain, first at cover by captain Mahmudullah, then at slip by Shadman Islam.
He went on to make Bangladesh pay heavily for those dropped chances. His partnership with Williamson, who battled bravely to make 74 before being dismissed and leaving for the hospital, more than steadied the innings.
Williamson departed to have scans on a shoulder and pectoral injury — sustained when he fell in the field — with New Zealand 180-3.
Taylor and Henry then led New Zealand into a position of control. When Taylor was out for 200, New Zealand was 421-5 and already 210 runs ahead.
"I think we all saw how green it was and we wanted to be positive because we knew there was probably going to be a ball with your name on it," Taylor said. "I had a bit of luck this morning.
"I thought they bowled really well those first six or seven overs and Kane and I were jumping around a bit. Obviously being a three-day Test we knew we had to be proactive and try to get as many runs as we can, even if it was a 100-run lead, just to speed up the game."
On a day of batting milestones, Williamson took 67 balls to join Taylor atop the New Zealand batting list with 30 half centuries. But his share of the record lasted only minutes before Taylor reached his 31st half century.
Taylor went on to his 18th century from 97 balls, an astonishing strike rate in difficult conditions. In doing so he overtook his mentor Martin Crowe, who scored 17 centuries in his celebrated career.
Taylor's double century came from 211 balls, the third-fasTest in Tests by a New Zealander. Piling on more pressure, Nicholls reached a chanceless century from 122 balls and was out for 107 shortly before the declaration.
Trent Boult then removed dangerman Tamim Iqbal with the second ball of the Bangladesh second innings. Tamim hit the first ball for four; Boult smiled ruefully, then produced an almost unplayable delivery which swung, then seamed back to bowl Iqbal.
Tamim scored 126, 74 and 74 in his three previous innings in the series and his early dismissal was a major blow to Bangladesh.
(With AP Inputs)