After falling agonisingly short of a century in the recent Test against India, Mahmudullah was delighted to finally reach three figures against New Zealand in Hamilton today. The 24-year-old all-rounder came up four runs short against India but made no mistake at Seddon Park to notch a boundary-laden 115 as he and captain Shakib Al Hasan (87) helped Bangladesh post a strong reply of 408 to New Zealand's first-innings total of 553 for seven. "It's a really good day for me and for the team that we finally got a very good score on the board," Mahmudullah said. "I was a bit unhappy that I didn't get the hundred last time. This time I got the hundred and I'm very happy. "This innings might be the best one so far. The situation wasn't good because we had lost six wickets for 200 runs. But we coped with the crunch moments and capitalised on the bad balls.
"Shakib was aggressive as well and the ball was doing a bit so it was good fun." Mahmudullah was disappointed his captain failed to match him with a maiden Test ton after the pair put on a 145-run stand for the seventh wicket which hauled Bangladesh back from the brink in the one-off Test. Shakib's innings ended in controversial fashion when he was given out by Rob Tucker although replays suggested the ball did not carry to New Zealand wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum. At the time Shakib did not ask for the decision to be referred and afterwards Mahmudullah played down the incident. "I thought it was a fair catch the way the New Zealanders were coming (into a huddle)," the all-rounder said. "But it's part of the game. The boys were unhappy that Shakib didn't get the hundred because the chance was there. But it's part of cricket, it's part of life. You've got to accept it."
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori admitted McCullum had not been sure if the ball had carried. "I actually haven't seen the replays but from our part Brendon wasn't sure and he asked me to ask the umpires and I went and asked the umpires and they were happy that it carried," said Vettori. "We did everything we could on our part. They could have used a referral. Like I said, Brendon wasn't 100% sure so I talked to the umpires and they were confident that Brendon caught it." Despite feeling the brunt of Shakib and Mahmudullah's aggression during the middle session, Vettori had nothing but praise for the pair's efforts.
"They played well and were aggressive and I think it made for good Test cricket which was good to watch if you weren't me," said the spin bowler, who saw Shakib smack nine boundaries off him between lunch and tea. "They played really well. I liked the intensity that they played with and they put the pressure back on us." New Zealand ended the day 154 runs ahead after bad light ended play early with them nine for one following the run out of BJ Watling. Vettori was coy though when asked if he had a particular target in mind for Bangladesh to chase with two days to go. "We want to bat well in the morning and bat two sessions and see where we are at that stage," he said.