Bangladesh were meandering towards a meagre first innings total as New Zealand applied a choke hold after butterfingers initially gave their hosts some breathing space on day one of the first test at Chittagong on Friday.

A post-lunch collapse looked to condemn Bangladesh to an insufficient score after Mohammad Ashraful understandably opted to bat on the Divisional Stadium.

By tea Bangladesh were locked in survival mode on 101 for four with only Mehab Hossain showing the capability and inclination to attack on a good batting surface.

A snail-paced Bangladesh slumped to 44 for four in the 43rd over before Hossain and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim at least attempted to up the scoring rate before they too were pegged back.

Hossain did end the middle session with a flourish, taking three boundaries off a Jeetan Patel over before ending on 42 off 56 balls.

Rahim (19 off 67) was providing a valuable supporting role.

Bangladesh had initially crawled to 34 for one at the end of a tedious opening session highlighted by their ultra defensive approach and New Zealand’s catching woes.

Tamim Iqbal and Rajin Saleh were both granted a reprieve before they scored — in the latter’s case Iain O’Brien would have been on a hattrick had Brendon McCullum gloved a regulation edge after he removed Junaid Siddique with his first ball for a golden duck.

The fortutious duo survived to lunch after Aaron Redmond dropped both batsmen off Kyle Mills and Jeetan Patel.

Saleh also survived a plumb leg before wicket decision to deny Jesse Ryder a wicket with his third ball in test cricket but their luck finally ran out after lunch.

Daniel Vettori removed Iqbal with the second ball off the session when McCullum atoned for his earlier miss, the opener’s resistance ended after 18 runs were taken from 90 deliveries.

O’Brien, who saw off the challenge of Tim Southee and Mark Gillespie to share the new ball with Mills, finally got his man when Saleh inside edged on to his stumps.

Saleh eked his way to an unconvincing 20 off 129 balls without a boundary, his downfall left Bangladesh tettering at 40 for three.

Worse was to follow for the home side when Ashraful, often criticised for his loose strokemaking, retreated into his shell before Vettori bamboozled him with flight to have him leg before wicket for two — off 35 balls.

The skipper wisely rotated his ample resources in 35degC heat that seemed to sap Mills’s energy after an opening five over burst that cost just one run.

Vettori brought himself on in the 21st over and saw his third ball lofted down the ground by Iqbal for one of just two boundaries in the session.

Mills and O’Brien set the tone with their opening spell conceding just four runs from 66 balls.

In all New Zealand delivered 32 overs in the session, 20 of which were maidens.

The trend continued in the middle session as New Zealand produced another 14 scoreless overs.

O’Brien ended with the remarkable figures of two for four off 11 overs, including eight maidens.