Sylhet survived an early scare from Khulna spearhead Mashrafe Bin Mortaza to show some character in their batting on the rain-interrupted third day of the 9th National Cricket League match at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Replying to Khulna's first innings total of 274, Sylhet thrived on a 78-run third wicket partnership between Rajin Saleh and Mushfiqur Rahim to finish the day on 174-3.
Away in Chittagong, new-ball bowler Mohammad Shahjada ripped through Chittagong, picking up five wickets as he ensured a 78-run first innings lead for Rajshahi. The table toppers extended their lead to 156 runs after ending the day on 78-3 in their second innings. Chittagong made
Mashrafe gave the breakthrough for Khulna in the fourth over of the day when he clean bowled Golam Mabud and he was very quick to trap the Mabud's brother Rahman as Sylhet were reduced to 27-two after resuming the day on 6 without loss.
But resistance came from skipper Rajin and national stumper Mushfiqur as they slammed half-centuries to repair the early damage.
Rajin made 54 off 109 balls that featured ten boundaries before he was caught behind off Ziaur Rahman while Mushfiqur remained not out on 54. He smashed five fours and a six in his 131-ball innings.
Alok Kapali showed signs of a return to form as he finished the day on an unbeaten 39 that came off 70 deliveries with the help of five boundaries.
The match was stopped twice for more than two hours due to rain.
Shahjada took five for 24 runs and all-rounder Forhad Reza claimed three wickets for 20 as Chittagong's batting collapsed.
It could have been a much worse story for the home team had it not been for lower-order batsmen Tariq Aziz and Sabbir Khan added 49 runs for the ninth wicket.
Number 10 Tariq, who earlier took the only wicket of Rajshahi innings on the third morning to return with 5-39, was Chittagong's top scorer with 35 off 52 balls that contained three fours and two sixes.
Sabbir made 21 off 43 deliveries with the help of a boundary.
Rajshahi made 78-3 with Nayeem Islam (26) and Khaled Mashud (6) at the crease.
SCORES IN BRIEF
KHULNA: First innings 274.
SYLHET: First innings 174-3 in 60.2 overs (Rahman 7, Mabud 3, Rajin 54, Mushfiqur 54*, Kapali 39*; Mashrafe 2-44, Ziaur 1-34).
RAJSHAHI: First innings 192 all out and second innings 78-3 in 29 overs (Jahirul 24, Zunaed 4, Farhad 12, Nayeem 26*, Mashud 6*; Tareq 1-24, Saju 1-10).
CHITTAGONG: First innings 115 all out in 55.1 overs (Masum 21, Nafees 2, Nazimuddin 10, Aftab 0, Ehsanul 5, Faisal 3, Dhiman 5, Sabbir 21, Yasin 3, Tareq 35, Saju 2 not out; Shahjada 5-24, Delwar 1-20, Forhad 3-20).