Bangladesh's home of cricket, the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur, witnessed its first double century by a Bangladeshi batsman yesterday, when left-handed opener Imrul Kayes stroked his way to a resolute 204 in the third innings of the final of the Bangladesh Cricket League.
Middle-order batsman Mithun Ali provided good support by scoring his eighth first-class century and remained unbeaten on 111 to place the Prime Bank South Zone in a position of strength.
The pair shared a 254-run stand for the third wicket and in the process took their side to a nearly unbeatable position. The Southerners finished the third day on 410 for 3 to already take a massive lead of 446 runs.
With two more days to go, even if the game ends as a draw, South Zone will be crowned champions due to their first innings lead over their opponents -- the BCB North Zone.
Imrul and Mithun's performances came against the flow, in a game that saw batsmen from both sides voraciously throw away their wickets, on a good batting track, on the first two days.
Imrul, who got out at long on while playing a lazy drive in the first innings, seemed to have learnt from his mistake and played a well-controlled innings. The one major difference in yesterday's innings was his ability to curtail himself from playing shots in the air. He did hit nine sixes during his six-hour vigil, but most of those well-timed hits came off some below-par deliveries.
Slow left-armer Taijul Islam, who had taken eight wickets in the first innings, was bound to be the major threat and once Imrul found his way around him, he looked in impeccable form.
While his tactics did let him get the better of Taijul, he however did go through a nervy patch against the spinner moments before he reached his 200.
While in the 180s, Imrul went down the track and attempted to hit Taijul out of the ground. The spinner saw that coming and fired one outside the off-stump. It compelled Imrul to abandon his shot and dive back to his crease. Two balls before that delivery, Imrul skied Taijul in the air and almost gifted a catch to the long-off fielder, who was standing on the boundary line and took the catch much later than expected. There were also a couple of drop catches, however, at the end of the day nothing could stop the batsmen from reaching his career-best score.
SCORES IN BRIEF
PRIME BANK SOUTH ZONE: 271 and 410 for 3 in 90 overs (Imrul 204, Mithun 111 not out; Forhad 1-34)
BCB NORTH ZONE: 235