Rahim shines amidst showers
22 May 2005
By: Neil Pickup
Sixteen-year-old Mushfiqur Rahim's maiden first-class century was the brightest spark during a soggy County Ground draw as Northamptonshire and the touring Bangladeshis managed less than 120 overs between them in their three-day tour match.
Following the opening day's leaden skies and three-wicket haul for Anwar Hossain Monir and yesterday's complete washout, Usman Afzaal and Andrew White added 75 in 15 overs - Monir bearing the brunt - 4/113 respectable, but 5.65 an over not so, before an early declaration from Afzaal (47*) allowed the tourists some final time in the middle before Thursday's first Test at Lord's. When Charl Pietersen, Richard King and Matthew Friedlander - a bowling attack with a handful of senior matches amongst an eleven scarcely more experienced - reduced the Tigers to 105 for 5, all looked grim for the visitors.
Rahim, who impressed hugely with an unbeaten 63 at Hove as wickets crumbled around him in Bangladesh's last tour fixture, then allied with fellow wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud for a 91-run liason to save their country from further embarrassment and lift them towards a lead. Mashud's glovework and solid batsmanship is likely to be enough to retain his place behind the stumps for the Test series, and he hit 31 in an hour and a half to solidify his claims for a Lord's berth.
Mushfiqur, with his chances of the wicketkeeper's slot diminishing, set his sights on a specialist batsman's slot as he cruised to a second consecutive fifty before veteran left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique joined him for another significant stand. Rafique belted 54 at more than a run a ball before becoming Pietersen's third wicket, and Tapash Baisya stood firm until the close of play to allow the youngster to go to three figures - and pose Dav Whatmore an interesting and unexpected selection dilemma for Thursday.
Bilal Shafayat 76, Usman Afzaal 47*
Anwar Hossain Monir 4-113, Enamul Haque jnr 1-21
Mushfiqur Rahim 115*, Mohammad Rafique 54
Matthew Friedlander 3-67, Charl Pietersen 3-74