Young Mehrab Hossain hit his maiden first-class century but that was not enough for Dhaka to avoid a draw against Barisal at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.
The 17-year-old opening batsman struck an unbeaten 103 in Dhaka's second innings total of 202-4 declared. But Barisal, set to score 295 for victory, successfully negotiated the remaining 40 overs on the final day of the four-day match, scoring 107-2 to win their first point after their defeat in the first round against Khulna.
The other Sixth National Cricket League match between Rajshahi and Khulna also ended in a predictable draw at the Khulna Divisional Stadium.
The result however ensured four points for Dhaka and Rajshahi because of their first-innings' lead.
Chittagong was the only team in the second round that secured an outright victory when the port city outfit handed Sylhet an innings and 64 runs defeat with a day to spare.
Chittagong joined Dhaka, Rajshahi and Khulna at the top of the six-team table all having collected eight points after two rounds. Sylhet and Barisal, on the other hand, bagged two points each.
Although senior Mehrab missed a hundred for just two runs, his junior namesake made no mistake to seize the opportunity.
MEHRAB JR.. 103 n.o.
Resuming the 11, the young left-hander raced to 103 off 160 balls with the help of nine boundaries.
Earlier, senior Mehrab, who is also the lone one-day centurion for Bangladesh, fell for 98 in Dhaka's first innings on the second day.
Dhaka captain Khaled Mahmud, who was understandably disappointed with the slow start on the opening day, rightly decided to wait until Mehrab completed his century. But his hopes for something extraordinary after the declaration just before the tea never happened.
Paceman Mahbubul Alam did make an initial breakthrough removing Sakib Chowdhury (4) and Mahmud trapped discarded national opener Hannan Sarker (7) lbw to reduce Barisal to 15-2. But Dhaka's early success ended at that point after Humayun Kabir and Shahin Hossain put on 92 runs for the unbroken third wicket.
A score of 209 in 48 overs is a total any team would have wanted to chase. But Rajshahi never accepted the challenge.
Worse, they lost half their wickets before limping to 84 at close.
The cricketers from the northern headquarters went into a defensive shell even after paceman Sumon Saha opened the prospect of interesting final day by claiming three quick wickets as Khulna, resuming on 155-4, were bundled out for 227.
Rajshahi played slowly after their opener Farhad Reza was dismissed by Dolar Mahmud for 1. Jahurul Islam and Anisur Rahman added 46 runs for the second wicket but by the time they reached 50, they had consumed 20 overs.
Anisur scored 21 off 61 balls that included three boundaries. Jahurul scored a painstaking 35 off 112 balls before becoming the last batsman out in the 44th over.
Dolar took two wickets for 12 in 11 for Khulna.
Edited on, February 19, 2005, 6:18 PM GMT, by reverse_swing.