Mushfiqur Rahim's unbeaten hundred was the highlight of the third day of the fourth-round Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) matches yesterday. The right-hander's century in his first appearance in this season's BCL kept North Zone's hopes of averting the follow-on and saving the match against Central Zone alive at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogura. At the Sylhet International Stadium, South Zone's end-of-day score of 142 for three in the second innings, which gave them an overall lead of 245, puts them on top against East Zone, but only a dramatic turn can produce result at either venue.
Abu Hider struck in the second over of the day when North Zone resumed their innings on nought for nought in reply to Central Zone's 529, but Mizanur Rahman (32) and Nazmul Hossain (45) shared a 72-run second-wicket stand to repair the damage. Left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain removed both batsmen as North went to lunch on 98 for three. Mushfiqur then stood firm when wickets were tumbling regularly at the other end. Pacer Ebadat Hossain did most of the damage by claiming three wickets before Taijul Islam (21 not out) joined Mushfiqur to frustrate Central Zone.
“It feels really good as I made a hundred in my first appearance in this season's BCL. I had a target before the resumption of the BCL that I would start with a century at my home ground and Alhamdulillah, I achieved it. Now my main target is to save the follow-on so that we can save the match,” Mushfiqur, whose last domestic first-class hundred came at BKSP in January 2014, told The Daily Star over phone after yesterday's play.
One of the biggest stars in Bangladesh cricket, Mushfiqur hit seven fours and a six during his unbeaten 199-ball 101-run innings. He played 143 balls and hit three fours to reach his fifty and then took only 51 balls to complete his hundred.
At the Sylhet International Stadium, Liton Das could not add much to his overnight score of 60 as the right-hander was dismissed by spinner Nayeem Hasan for 75. Nayeem also removed the other overnight batsman Yasir Ali quickly as East Zone went for lunch on 190 for six after resuming the day at 95 for three.
East Zone however managed to reach 300 in reply to South Zone's 403, thanks to a 114-run seventh wicket partnership between Jaker Ali and Mohammad Saifuddin, who was unbeaten on 75 during his 146-run vigil that contained nine fours and two sixes. Jaker scored 76 off 154 balls with six fours and four sixes.
Pacer Kamrul Islam took more wickets on the third day to finish as the most successful bowler with four for 93 while Abdur Razzak and Nayeem took three wickets each.
South Zone extended the lead to 245 runs with seven wickets remaining as 10,000-run pioneer Tushar Imran, who made a hundred in the first innings, continued his form with an unbeaten 46 and Soumya Sarkar kept him company with 29 as South ended on a dominant note.
Mohammad Ashraful took two wickets after Abu Jayed removed Anamul Haque for a duck.