Slender leads for East and South Zone
East Zone took a slender lead over Central Zone at the end of the third day's play in Savar. With nine wickets still intact in their second innings, a draw looms large unless Central Zone wrestle back on the flat BKSP-2 deck.
Shamsur Rahman was the focus of all attention when Central Zone resumed their first innings in the morning, already delayed by an hour due to foggy conditions. Two wickets fell quickly, prompting Shamsur to go on the offensive. He hooked Alauddin Babu for his first six of the morning, and quickly moved past the 250-mark in the next over with a single off Mashrafe Mortaza.
He moved past Mohammad Ashraful's 263 with his third six of the morning, a slam over mid-on off Mashrafe. But off the next ball, on 267, he hooked one to Nafees Iqbal at deep square leg. He struck 10 sixes and 27 fours in an innings spanning six hours and 49 minutes. Soon after he fell, Central Zone were bowled out for 475, taking a lead of 172.
East Zone replied well, with Nazimuddin and Nafees adding 163 for the opening wicket. They batted steadily until Nafees fell to Arafat Sunny for 63. Nazimuddin hurt his left leg while completing a single to move to 97, having to retire hurt after batting 155 deliveries to hit 10 fours and three sixes. He is set to bat on the final day.
Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque batted out the rest of the day as they went to stumps at 234 for 1, leading by 62 runs.
North Zone are in a better position in the other game, progressing against South Zone at the BKSP-3 ground. They moved to 155 for 3 in 40 overs, after South Zone took just a six-run lead in the first innings.
Naeem Islam was unbeaten on 59 for North Zone, having added 60 for the third wicket with Farhad Hossain after they lost two early wickets. At the end of day's play, Naeem was unbeaten with captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who was on 26.
Earlier in the day, left-arm spinner Taijul Islam got the most out of a docile wicket when he took four wickets. South Zone's Imrul Kayes was dismissed for 127, his overnight score, to Nazmul Hossain, after which Taijul went on to chip in with his dismissals.
Given the flat nature of the wicket, it would be hard for the South Zone bowlers to knock over North Zone and then chase the fourth innings target quickly.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here