Mehrab, Rahim steady Bangladesh after Vettori's double

Published: Friday, October 17, 2008, 15:20 [IST]
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Recalled left-hander Mehrab Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim led Bangladesh's fightback on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand here on Friday.

Mehrab was unbeaten on 42 and Rahim on 19 to help the home team reach 101-4 at tea. Visiting captain Daniel Vettori took two of the three wickets to fall in the second session at the Divisional Stadium.

Mehrab, who scored eight and six in his only Test appearance against Sri Lanka last year, played aggressively during his unbroken 57-run stand with Rahim to lift Bangladesh who had been struggling at 44-4.

Bangladesh, who won the toss and elected to bat, crawled their way to 34-1 at lunch after they lost opener Zunaid Siddique leg-before wicket off the first ball of the second Iain O'Brien over.

Opener Tamim Iqbal and Rajin Saleh got bogged down, not playing shots even on loose deliveries.

Vettori dismissed opener Iqbal off the first delivery after the break, forcing an edge off the left-hander for a smart catch behind the stumps.

Iqbal, who was dropped twice by Aaron Redmond before reaching double figures, made 18.

O'Brien then dismissed Saleh off an inside edge for a snail-paced 20 off 129 balls, before Vettori trapped skipper Mohammad Ashraful (two) as the home team lost three wickets in the space of just 10 runs.

Mehrab showed how easy it was to play on a slow and grass-less pitch as he hit seven boundaries.

Vettori took 2-32, while O'Brien fetched 2-4 off 11 overs, eight of which were maiden.

With the pitch expected to take spin, the home team went into the Test with four spinners and two seamers, while the visitors kept faith in Patel and Vettori besides their three seamers.

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