Aaron Redmond ground out his maiden test
half century, a milestone instrumental in New Zealand approaching
their own historic test cricket achievement as Bangladesh’s
self-belief eroded in Chittagong today.

Redmond’s temperament and technique was severely tested as New
Zealand set about overhauling an imposing victory target of 317 on
day four of the first test at the Divisional Stadium,

But critically the opener rarely wavered as he and debutant Jesse
Ryder batted New Zealand into a position where they should avoid
becoming the first major cricketing nation to drop a test to

New Zealand were comfortably placed on 145 for two at the close,
172 runs short of victory with 90 overs available.

would have been even more assured had Ryder not run himself out for
38 with less than three overs remaining.

The opener was unbeaten on a 192-ball 62 while captain Daniel
Vettori (0) made himself nightwatchman.

Redmond started his fourth test in forgettable fashion on Friday
when he shelled two regulation catches on the first morning.

He then bogged himself down at the crease, ekeing out a tortured
19 off 65 balls as New Zealand struggled to make headway against the
spin of Shakib Al Hasan.

However, a diving catch to remove captain Mohammad Ashraful for a
duck on Saturday signalled a change in fortune for the converted
legspinner — he even reverted to his cricketing roots today to wrap
up the Bangladeshi second innings on 245 with his third ball.

But it was his primary role that will give Redmond most
satisfaction as he painstakingly worked on upping his test average
of nine and bettering a top score of 28, made against England in
Manchester five months ago.

Still plagued by leaden feet, Redmond took 31 balls before he
trusted himself to hit in the air over cover.

His first boundary was an aberration but eventually Redmond grew
in confidence — a glide and upper cut to third man in successive
balls soothing the nerves.

He brought up his half century when finding the fence for the
seventh time in 227 minutes, after facing 135 balls.

Redmond’s personal recovery seems to have been mirrored by New
Zealand who had spent long periods of this contest on their heels.

Ryder also played an important role as the duo added 90 off 38.2
overs for the second wicket — a stand that followed Redmond and
Jamie How’s 55-run liaison from the outset.

The usually free-flowing Ryder also batted conservatively given
New Zealand were allotted a maximum 156 overs – and five sessions to complete their highest fourth innings chase since the class of
1985 made 164 for four to beat Australian in Perth.

Ryder was unflustered in making 38 but, like How, gambled and
lost when he tried to take a second on the arm from Mashrafe Mortaza
at third man.

The pair had advanced the score to 84 at tea and then ticked off
their own 50-run stand – off 127 balls – as Ashraful’s
seven-pronged attack came up all but empty.

How (36) paid for a rare lapse in concentration when his
attempted dab through point clipped off stump to give left armer
Abdur Razzak — and Bangladesh — heart when the score was 55.

However, Redmond and Ryder blunted each bowler with chanceless
innings’ – particularly Al Hasan.

The left armer snared seven for 36 first time round but although
he was economical, conceding 34 off 22, an increasingly lifeless
wicket did him no favours.

Vettori also had no luck with the ball today, though he still
ended with the ultra respectable figures of four for 74 from 42
nagging overs — and nine for 133 for the match.