Hamilton: Centuries to Tom Latham and Jeet Raval and New Zealand’s best opening partnership in nearly half-a-century left Bangladesh on the ropes on day two of the first Test on Friday.
Kane Williamson, unbeaten on 93, added to the run-fest at Hamilton’s Seddon Park in a century stand for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls.
At stumps, New Zealand were 451 for four, leading by 217 with six wickets in hand.
Latham made 161, Raval notched his maiden century with 132, while Nicholls departed two overs before stumps for 53.
Raval, who went into the Test frustrated at holding the New Zealand record for the most fifties (eight) without a century, was relieved to get the monkey off his back in his 17th Test.
“It’s very nice to get over the line and get the hundred but more importantly it’s nice to get the big partnership,” said the Test specialist opener, who has been working on “the focus I wanted to build on, especially getting starts and not being able to go on and get a big one.
“Hopefully this is the start of something and I can build on those starts for the rest of the series.”
With the assistance of a flat track, Latham and Raval put on 254 for the first wicket — the third-highest opening partnership by a New Zealand pair, and their best since the record 387 set by Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis against the West Indies 47 years ago.
Latham punished Sri Lanka for dropping him on nought at the start of the innings.
He occupied the crease for more than six hours, scoring freely around the ground and reaching the boundary with 17 fours as well as hitting Mehidy Hasan over the midwicket fence three times.
Fittingly, it was Soumya Sarkar — who spilt the simple catch Latham gave at second slip before scoring — who eventually claimed his wicket.
But by then, Latham had passed 150 for the fourth time in his career and New Zealand were 333 for two.
It continued a purple patch of form for the left-hander who has three centuries from his past four Test innings.
Raval held his nerve after passing his previous best — 88 on the same ground against South Africa two years ago — and was able to raise his bat when he cracked back-to-back fours off Ebadat Hossain to move from 93 to 101.
It took a sly switch from Mahmudullah to make the elusive breakthrough.
The Bangladesh skipper brought himself on for a single over and on his fifth delivery, Raval skied an attempted slog-sweep to Khaled Ahmed at midwicket.
It was another part-time bowler, Soumya, who picked up the wickets of Latham and Ross Taylor.
Latham poked at a wide ball and a diving Mohammad Mithun completed the dismissal at second slip, while an inswinger rapped Taylor on the front pad plumb in line with the stumps.
Against the run of play, Mehidy claimed the late wicket of Nicholls with a ball that came back and crashed into the stumps.
■ Bangladesh first innings 234
■ New Zealand first innings 451-4: Raval 132, Latham 161, Williamson 93n.o; Soumya 2-57