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May 9, 2010
Bangladeshis 12 for 0 trail Surrey XI 318 for 7 (Spriegel 108*, Meaker 94) by 306 runs
There were reasons for cheer in both camps at The Oval where a youthful Surrey development side recovered from a poor start to offer Bangladesh a good work-out on a chilly first day of their tour of England.
In this maiden first-class meeting between the Lions of Surrey and the Tigers of Bangladesh, honours finished just about even after three engaging sessions witnessed, sadly if unsurprisingly, by a modest audience that barely numbered three figures.
Though numbed by the cold, the home supporters were encouraged by a second first-class hundred by willowy left-hander Matt Spriegel, as well as a career-best 94 by Stuart Meaker that helped their side to a workmanlike 318 for 7 declared.
In the five overs remaining in the day, Bangladesh reached 12 without loss or alarm and will go into the second day of their tour opener facing a deficit of 302.
Only four days earlier Bangladesh were basking in near 40-degree temperatures at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, where they pushed Australia hard before going out of the World Twenty20, yet the tourists took to the bone-numbing winds, 11 degree temperatures and blanket cloud cover at the Kennington Oval surprisingly well.
In the field after acting Surrey skipper Chris Schofield won the toss, the Bangladesh side donned their thermal underwear and pocketed hand-warmers to dominate the opening exchanges of the day by taking three wickets in both the first and second sessions to reduce Surrey to 135 for 6.
Robiul Aslam, who returned figures of 3 for 67, is the only uncapped player in their party but the 23-year-old right arm seamer was the pick of their attack. Predicting his success on the tour, Bangladesh's chairman of selectors Rafiqul Alam had said ahead of the match: "He brings a lot of energy and has brisk pace. Robiul is strong and aggressive and we feel he can be a handy option in English conditions."
Surrey's top-order were soon thinking the same as Robiul, working up a decent head of steam from the Vauxhall End, caused right-hander Laurie Evans (22) to chop an attempted back-foot force onto his leg stump and end an opening stand of 35. Arun Harinath and first-class debutant Tom Lancefield attractively doubled the score in seven overs but then Harinath (19) drove airily at Mahbubul Alam to pick out Mahmudullah Riyad who took a good catch diving forward at backward point.
With his score on 6 the most senior player on show, 32-year-old Usman Afzaal drove at one going across his body from Rubel Hossain into the hands of captain Shakib Al Hasan at slip to make it 99 for 3 at lunch.
Soon after the break left-handed Lancefield missed out on his 50 by only three runs when he nibbled at one from Robiul to be caught behind, then Gary Wilson, fresh from Barbados where he appeared for Ireland in the World Cup, suffered a second-ball duck when he worked around his front pad to go leg before to the same bowler.
Schofield quickly followed for 5 when, in attempting to steer to third man, he picked out Mahmudullah at gully to give Rubel a second wicket and encourage Bangladeshi hopes of dismissing Surrey within the day.
Spriegel and Meaker had other ideas, however, and their seventh wicket stand of 183 in 42 overs took Surrey's cubs (the average age of their side is 23) through to a respectable 318 before Meaker's demise sparked the declaration.
Spriegel, dropped on 17 in the gully, played cautiously and largely within 'the v' thereafter to post a career best 108 not out, his second century for Surrey coming from 188 balls and contained 10 fours. Meaker also posted a career-best and was only six shy of a maiden hundred when he went back to opening bowler Shahadat Hossain and went lbw.
Mark Pennell is the managing director of freelance reporting and public relations agency Kent & Sussex SportFeeds: Mark Pennell
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