Mohammad Ashraful shone with the ball with his first opportunity since returning to cricket after a three year-ban for Dhaka Metropolis on the opening day of their second round National Cricket League match against Barisal in Khulna on Sunday.
Ashraful, whose ban for involving in match-fixing was uplifted on August 13, picked up 3-49 that reduced Barisal to 301-6 at stumps as their batsman Abu Sayem scored 98 runs, fifth ninety plus innings of the league, which is yet to see a century.
Ironically, last time Ashraful played a domestic first-class match before this season, back in February 2013, he picked up a three-for in the first innings, for Central Zone against North Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League final.
Dhaka Metropolis’s first round match of this season’s league against Dhaka Division could be held for just 15 overs due to rain which denied Ashraful any competitive actions either with ball or bat.
In another match of the second round, Rajshahi were in the driving seat at their home ground as they bundled out Chittagong for 141 runs before finishing the day on 121-1.
In Sylhet, Rangpur were 191-7 at stumps and in the other match at Bogra, defending champions Khulna were on 172-1 after rain finished the day early.
After winning the toss, Barisal chose to bat and lost four wickets for 123 before Sohag Gazi, who remained not out on 87, joined Sayem to add 139 runs to get their team past 250.
Sayem struck 12 fours and a six in 165-ball innings to play the highest innings of the tournament but could not overcome the voodoo of the nervous ninety.
In Rajshahi none of the Chittagong batsmen could score over 28 and the fall of regular wickets saw them finish with a paltry total as Farhad Reza picked up four wickets and Saqlain Sajib grabbed three for the hosts.
In reply, Rajshahi opener Myshukur Rahman got out for just one run but his partner Mizanur Rahman, who was not out one 71, added 107 runs with Junaed Siddique (45 not out) and will resume today in pursuit of a huge first innings lead.
Rangpur opener Saymon Ahmed (32) and Jahid Javed (39) made a 69-run opening stand but they lost regular wickets to be reduced to 191-7 as Alok Kapali and Shamsur Rahman picked up three wickets for Sylhet.
In Bogra, Khulana opener Mehedi Hasan was out for eight when the score was 10 but Anamul Haque (84 not out) and Mosaddek Iftekhar (71 not out) added 161 runs before rain ended the day with only 50.5 overs bowled.
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