CHITTAGONG // Shakib al Hasan was again the hero for Bangladesh as his rock-steady half-century guided the hosts to a position of dominance on the third day against New Zealand. After setting Test-best figures of 7-36 to dismiss the Black Caps for 171, Shakib displayed his prowess with the bat as he hit a superb 71 to ensure Bangladesh's second-innings total stood at 184-8 at stumps.
The hosts had been on the ropes when they went in for lunch on 49-4, but their middle order stemmed the tide to establish a lead of 258 runs heading into the penultimate day. Tamim Iqbal (33) and Mushfiqur Rahim (32) also contributed useful knocks but the real hero of the hour was Shakib, who went on to tally 12 boundaries after claiming his maiden Test fifty from 105 balls. Shakib and Rahim dug in for a sixth-wicket stand of 42 before tea to steady Bangladeshi nerves following a torrid morning at the crease. Rahim made just two more runs after the interval before he was bowled off an inside edge by Iain O'Brien.
Shakib then combined with Naeem Islam to take the score to 175 before the spinner's excellent day's work was brought to an end when he was caught by Ross Taylor at slip off the bowling of New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori. Naeem then became Vettori's fourth victim of the innings when he was trapped leg before for 19. Mashrafe Mortaza (5) and Abdur Razzak (0) were unbeaten at stumps. Earlier, Bangladesh quickly accounted for the last New Zealand first-innings wicket when Shakib bowled O'Brien to dismiss the tourists for 171.
Vettori, on 48 not out overnight, reached his fifty in the first over of the day but was left watching on as O'Brien (5) perished in the fourth over of the day. Kyle Mills claimed an early wicket for the tourists when he had Junaid Siddique (6) caught by Aaron Redmond at second slip in the seventh over. Patel then trapped Rajin Saleh leg before in his second over before Ashraful fell without scoring in the next. The Bangladesh captain was caught by a diving Redmond at cover off Vettori.
Patel then claimed Mehrab Hossain Jnr, who failed to trouble the scorers by finding Mills at mid-on. The opener Tamim was the only wicket to fall between lunch and tea when he was caught and bowled by Vettori. * PA Sport