New Zealand led Bangladesh by 85 runs in reply to the host's first innings total of 501 as rains forced umpires to declare an early stump amid strong possibility of a drawn match on the fourth day of the first Test on Saturday.

After Bangladesh took a first-innings lead of 32 runs New Zealand reached 117-1 halfway through the last session. Rains stopped but authorities decided not to resume play because of drenched outfield.

Peter Fulton was not out on 44 with Kane Williamson unbeaten on 28 at stumps.

Earlier, Hamish Rutherford fell on 32 in a match that will likely require a bold declaration by the visitors if they are to avoid a draw.

Bangladesh was earlier dismissed in the second session after Sohag Gazi scored his maiden century and contributed 105 runs in the ninth wicket partnership with Robiul Islam to help his side cruise to 501.

It is always a great feeling to score a century. I was excited to have
my 50 as it was my first international 50. And the century obviously has made me happier

Sohag Gazi, Bangladesh batsman

Gazi's 101 runs came off 161 balls that included 10 fours and three sixes, and he was happy with his performance.

New Zealand's first innings' total was 469.

"It is always a great feeling to score a century. I was excited to have my 50 as it was my first international 50. And the century obviously has made me happier," Gazi said.

"We want to win the match and we will try to bowl them out as quickly as possible tomorrow."

Gazi praised Robiul Islam for his support.

"The situation was like that I had to stay (on the crease) instead of going for shots. I am grateful to Robiul because he gave me a good support," he said.

"At one stage he (Robiul) came to me and said that he is playing for me so that I can the hundred."

While the prospect of a draw is visible, New Zealand's Trent Boult said he still expected 'a result'.

"You know there is still a day left, it's a good opportunity, if some good cricket is played then I can definitely see a result," Boult said.

"We will see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully the (bad) weather stays away and we can get a result."

Immediately after the lunch break Robiul was out on 33 without adding any scores to the lunch figure. Rubel Hossain was the last batsman to fall on 4, ending the Bangladesh innings.

In the morning session, Gazi continued to batter New Zealand after Abdur Razzak fell on 7 to be the first wicket of the day.

Doug Bracewell led the bowling attack by taking 3-96 while Corey Anderson finished with 2-34 and Trent Boult had 2-50.

Rabeed Imam, media manager of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, said play would resume 30 minutes earlier than scheduled on Sunday if weather permits.

Source: AP