If there is anything to carry on from a domestic competition before a demanding international commitment, then Nazmul Hossain Shanto will be in the best possible state of mind as the Central Zone batsman hit a maiden first-class double ton against South Zone on the third day of the third-round Bangladesh Cricket League fixture in Cox's Bazar yesterday.
The unbeaten 253-run knock can provide the left-hander with enough confidence to amend the mistakes that saw him fail to convert good starts into big knocks in both innings against Pakistan in the recently-concluded Rawalpindi Test if he ultimately plays the one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Mirpur starting from February 22.
But there are hardly any guarantees that domestic performances can be reflected in international cricket, with Tamim Iqbal's failure in the Rawalpindi Test after going there on the back of a triple hundred in the same competition still fresh in many minds.
Nazmul's brilliant effort at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground saw him smash 25 fours and nine sixes during a 310-ball innings and put Central in a commanding position.
Central declared their second innings for 385 for eight after Nazmul converted his overnight hundred into a double to set a daunting 507-run winning target for South, who had courted controversy on the second day by declaring their first innings on 114 for four while still being 121 runs behind Central's first innings score.
South finished the day on 159 for four, requiring 348 more runs on the final day to win. Mustafizur provided the early breakthrough by dismissing Shahriar Nafees and spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz jolted the middle order by taking the wickets of Fazle Mahmud and Irfan Sukkur. Anamul Haque top scored with 83 off 119 balls featuring five fours and seven sixes before falling to victim of Shuvagata Hom's spin.
Meanwhile, at the main ground of the same venue, North Zone managed an 86-run lead against East Zone after scoring 145 for five in their second innings. Spinner Nayeem Hasan's two wickets of Junaed Siddiqui (36) and Naeem Islam (35) and a run out from Mohammad Ashraful that sent Ariful Haque back to the pavilion for nine put North in a spot of bother. But in-form Mushfiqur Rahim steadied the ship and remained not out on 23.
Earlier, Yasir Ali added 31 runs to his overnight score of 134 and Nayeem added an 82-ball 31 as East ended on 331 in their first innings after resuming the day on 261 for seven.
SCORES IN BRIEF
CENTRAL V SOUTH
Central Zone: First innings 235 and second innings 385 for 8 declared (Nazmul 253 not out, Rakibul 39, Zabid 36; Shafiul 2-48, Nasum 4-85)
South Zone: First innings 114 for 4 declared and second innings 159 for 4 (Anamul 83, Fazle 25, Shamsur 44 not out; Mehedi 2-55)
NORTH V EAST
North Zone: First innings 272 and second innings 145 for 5 (Junaid 36, Naeem 35, Mushfiqur 23 not out, Mahidul 22 not out; Nayeem 2-58)
East Zone: First innings 331 all out (Yasir 165, Imrul 76, Afif 26, Nayeem 31; Sunzamul 7-115, Sanjit 3-75)