There was not to be a second double century in as many days in the Bangladesh Cricket League as the closest in the running, Jahurul Islam, could only add eight runs to his overnight score of 152. However, there were three centuries on the third day as the two first-class games were poised for contrasting outcomes.
Mosaddek Hossain shrugged off a painful shoulder injury to hit a battling century and a vintage Tushar Imran ambled to his 25th hundred in his 153rd match as Prime Bank South Zone responded gallantly at the BKSP in Savar, where they were up against a massive Islami Bank East Zone total of 546, thanks to a magnificent 258 by Mominul Haque.
Riding on Mosaddek's 110 and Tushar's 105, South finished the third day on 318 for five, still 228 runs behind in a match that offered only 48 overs on the day due to fog early in the morning and bad light in the evening.
Resuming the day on 22, Tushar played fluently in his 163-ball knock that contained 18 fours. The experienced right-hander, who has been in fine form, actually fell 55 runs shy of that monumental 10,000-run mark, a feat no Bangladeshi player has achieved before. It is unlikely for him to get a chance to bat on the final day today. He will however get the chance to have a crack at history when his side play the second-round game against Walton Central Zone at the same venue on January 15.
A member of the Bangladesh team from 2001 to 2007, the 34-year-old has failed to do justice to his reputation as a solid middle-order batsman and a fine player off the back-foot. He has however become a prolific scorer in domestic first-class competition. Unfortunately, the absence of a proper A team is hindering his chances of a comeback, especially on the demanding Test front.
Mosaddek, who resumed on 44, was very watchful in his 226-ball vigil. The young right-hander, known as a sweet timer of the ball, struck 11 boundaries and four sixes. The effort of the duo meant the game is heading for a draw unless something extraordinary happens today, the fourth and final day.
Off-spinner Shohag Gazi, who took two wickets on the second day to rattle South, dismissed Mosaddek to finish with 3-65. Leg-spinner Alok Kapail had Tushar bowled on a day when only two wickets have fallen at the batting-friendly BKSP, where a staggering 864 runs have already been scored for the loss of only 15 wickets.
At the Sylhet International Stadium, North Zone captain Jahurul lost the necessary composure to have a go at a double hundred after the departure of Forhad Reza. And when Jahurul was dismissed by pacer Taskin Ahmed for 158, South declared the innings at 457 for nine. They could add only 24 runs to their overnight total of 433 for seven. Taskin, dropped from the national team for his inconsistent performance, bowled well and finished with four for 122.
Although Jahurul missed a double, his side were closing in on a comfortable victory against Central Zone, who finished the day on 234 for seven, still 35 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat with a day to go.
Central however fared better in their second essay after being bowling out for 188 on the opening day. The highlight of their second innings was a fine 105 from Rakibul Hasan. The experienced national discard hit 17 fours his in 152-ball knock. Leg-spinning all-rounder Tanbir Hayder, with 38, was the other notable contributor in an innings that lacked partnerships of substance. Pacers Subhasish Roy, Ariful Haque and left-arm spinner Sohrawardi Shuvo took two wickets each for North.