Lesser-knowns rule the day
An unexpected name came to the fore on the first day of England XI's second warm-up encounter with the BCB XI at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.
Abdul Mazid, a 25-year-old opener who had so far plied his trade in the domestic circuit as a consistent if not brilliant performer, turned on the heat on the visitors in more ways than one in the already hot conditions in the morning session. He scored a 95-ball 106 as BCB XI were all out for 294 late in the day, before England XI played out four overs for two runs without losing a wicket.
An England attack comprising almost their entire tour arsenal was put to the sword as the niceties of seeing off the shine were summarily dismissed by the flashing blade of the Dhaka Division and Victoria SC batsman.
At the other end was a struggling Soumya Sarkar, who later retained his position in the Test squad. By the time he had offered a catch to cover fielder Gareth Batty off Chris Woakes in the eighth over to be dismissed for four, BCB XI had reached 51 and his lesser-known partner 42 off 29.
In the company of the young Nazmul Hossain Shanto, who seemed comfortable against England's mixture of pace and spin, Mazid blossomed further. The terribly slow outfield reduced the value for shots hit along the ground, so Mazid adopted the aerial route.
He hit 14 boundaries and a six before lunch and was brutal whenever the England bowler's erred. Anything too full, be it from the spinners or pacers, was deposited over mid off for boundaries. He rocked back for anything short and employed a whip-like pull. Pacers Woakes, Ben Stokes, Steven Finn and Stuart Broad along with spinners Gareth Batty, Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari were treated with equal disdain.
Such was his dominance that he went to lunch on 92 off 86 balls, narrowly missing out on a rare century in a session as Nazmul played out a maiden before lunch, which BCB XI reached on 227 for one.
But curiously, he did not resume after lunch, the official story being that he was suffering from cramps. Instead Mominul Haque, not even in the team list before the match, came out to bat with Nazmul and was bowled by Moeen Ali for one.
England XI, mainly through left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari who finished with four for 68, then managed to peg back BCB XI after a 77-run partnership between Mosaddek Hossain (47 off 49) and the impressive Nazmul.
Nazmul was batting in assured fashion, mixing caution with aggression as he scored 72 off 130 deliveries before mistiming a lofted attempt off an Ansari short ball and offering a simple catch to Ben Duckett at point.
The 150 or so spectators finally got what they were waiting for early in the third session as Mazid returned, after Tanveer Haider was caught behind off Broad in the 64th over, to complete his ton.
He did not waste any time, taking a single off the first ball he faced from Stuart Broad, before cutting Finn for four. The 100 was completed with a lofted hit over cover for two in the over after that. A boundary and a two followed off Broad, but in the same over he was bowled trying to heave over the top.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BCB XI: First innings 294 (Mazid 106, Nazmul 72, Mosaddek 47, Nurul 39; Broad 2-43, Ansari 4-68, Batty 2-55)
ENGLAND XI: First innings 2 for no loss.