Shakib Al Ha-san slammed his maiden first-class hundred as hosts Khulna cashed in against Chittagong on the first day of the second round four-day match of the 9th National Cricket League at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman Stadium yesterday.
The 20-year-old left-hander's exciting 108, first in first-class this season, and half-centuries from Tushar Imran and Imrul Kayes steered the star-studded home side, which had a fruitful first-round tie against Dhaka, to finish the day on 361-7 to confirm the maximum batting points of four.
National all-rounder Shakib, who has played three Tests and 34 ODIs, clobbered 13 boundaries and a six during his 140-ball knock, to continue his good form after having made 78 in the first innings in the opening round match and 56 in the one-day game.
"It's a confident knock and he played fluently to give us a flying start in this round. What is encouraging is that has maintained some consistency. He was suffering from cold otherwise it could have been a much bigger innings," said Khulna skipper Habibul Bashar, praising the centurion.
Number five Shakib, whose previous best was 85 in 17 first-class matches, gave only one chance in the nervous nineties but a diving Nazimuddin failed to hold the catch at gully off young paceman Rubel Hossain but was finally caught by Chittagong skipper Ehsanul Haque off Ashiqur Rahman.
"It could have been much better if I made it much big and it was not impossible because I enjoyed batting on the flat track. Unfortunately, I was a little sick. I am looking forward to continue my form because I have a big target this season," said Shakib, who has already cemented his place in the limited-over game but still failed to impress in the longer-version.
Nazmus Sadat (15) and Kayes made a confident start for Khulna after being sent into bat first before the former was caught behind off Ashiqur to put an end to the 59-run opening stand.
Chittagong picked up one more wicket before lunch, when Bashar was bowled by his counterpart Ehsanul for 22 runs and the visitors got a quick breakthrough in the second session following the dismissal of left-hander Kayes, who smashed 52 off 89 balls with the help of eight fours and a six.
Shakib however joined Tushar to deny further damage and shared 96 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was dismissed by left-arm spinner Saju Datta for 51. Right-handed Tushar smote seven boundaries in his 96-ball knock.
Wicketkeeper Sahagir Hossain was the other notable score with 47 off 98 balls that featured four boundaries and added 102-run with Shakib in the fifth wicket while Mashrafe Bin Mortaza played a 17-ball 21 to ensure their side's maximum batting points.
Ashiqur claimed three wickets for 71 and Saju captured three for 73 as Chittagong so far managed two bonus points.
SCORES IN BRIEF
KHULNA: First Innings: 361 for 7 in 90 overs (Sadat 15, Kayes 52, Bashar 22, Tushar 51, Shakib 108, Sahagir 47, Mashrafe 21, Salim 10 not out, Ziaur 4 not out, extras 31; Ashiqur 3-71, Saju 3-73, Ehsanul 1-57).