British Universities v Bangladeshis, Fenners, 1st day May 10, 2005

Omar strikes first-day century

Cricinfo staff

Bangladeshis 238 for 3 (Omar 111*, Ashraful 87*) v British Universities
Scorecard



Javed Omar celebrates his century with Mohammad Ashraful © Getty Images
The heat of Dhaka will have felt a million miles away for the Bangladesh squad as they launched their England tour on a chilly day at Fenner's. But they put the foreign conditions to the back of their minds and, led by an unbeaten century from Javed Omar, made an impressive start against a British Universities side.

An opening day at Fenner's is a low-key affair, but Omar will cherish the memories, as he guided the Bangladeshis from the potential trouble of 99 for 3 to a healthy 238 for 3 at the end of a shortened day. Omar reached his century from 173 balls - despite receiving a nasty blow in the midriff - and by the close he had hit 18 boundaries. He will be vital to the Bangladesh top-order on this tour, with the experience of 27 Tests behind him, so an early century will have done wonders to boost his confidence.

His main support came from Mohammad Ashraful, who played a typically dashing innings, as the pair added an unbroken 139 for the fourth wicket. Ashraful is still only 20 but already has 25 Tests under his belt and is Bangladesh's most naturally gifted batsman. He showed some of his flair, stroking 87 from 117 balls with 17 fours. His expansive strokeplay did offer two chances - on 6 and 60 - but the students failed to cling onto either opportunity. Ashraful chanced his arm, many of shots going aerial, but Bangladesh want to express themselves on this tour and he deserved some luck.

Almost inevitably rain had delayed the start until 2.10pm and, unsurprisingly, the Universities side asked the Bangladeshis to bat. But Omar and Nafees Iqbal made a positive start. Nafees, who struck a stylish century against England during a tour match in 2003-04, played solidly until he was trapped lbw by Glen Read. Shahriar Nafees followed shortly after, edging to second slip off the impressive Matthew Friedlander where he was held at the second attempt.

Much of the Bangladesh batting will rest on the shoulders of their captain Habibul Bashar. He has the best batting credentials in the team - a Test average of 34 and three Test centuries - but he could not start his tour with a significant contribution. After two boundaries he was caught behind off Friedlander and the students felt they could make further inroads.

However, Omar and Ashraful had other ideas and in their contrasting styles blunted a persevering attack. Sterner examinations await the Bangladeshis, but after only being in England for four days, they will be delighted with how the tour has started.

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