Mominul, Ashraful push cases for selection
Sri Lanka Development Emerging Team 410 (Vithanage 168*, Gazi 5-104) drew with Bangladeshis 479 (Ashraful 102, Mominul 99, Gazi 82*, Mushfiqur 81)
Mohammad Ashraful and Mominul Haque firmed up their chances of playing the first Test with significant innings on the last day of the tour game in Matara. The Bangladesh batsmen made best use of a sunny, windy day as their three-day game ended in a draw.
Ashraful made 102, his 17th first-class century, and Mominul fell on 99, but missing the landmark wouldn't deter the young batsman because he made his case for selection for the Galle Test. Mominul batted more than three hours, scoring 99 off 138 balls, and went through phases that were Test-like.
He took time to settle down but latched on to anything that made him comfortable. Early on, he used his feet well against the spinners. Mominul was picky against pace, square cutting or driving Lahiru Gamage. He started the second session with a clipped boundary off Kasun Madushanka, and followed up with a cover drive in the same over. He got to his 50 off 74 balls, and then hit a huge straight six against left-arm spinner Dulanjana Mendis. He was batting freely as he neared a fourth first-class century but perished to the pull shot, giving mid-on a simple catch in the final session.
Mominul needed to score after a lean BPL to justify his position ahead of Marshall Ayub in this line-up. He was picked to replace Shakib Al Hasan in the side, and thankfully for the selectors the other replacement, Ashraful, also did well.
Ashraful left more than he played at in the first session, letting Mominul have a lot of the strike. After lunch he was a different batsman, racing past Mominul to reach 50 when the left-hander was on 47. He moved quickly to his century, off 144 balls, hitting 11 fours and a six. He fell a few minutes later to a terrific catch by Ashan Priyanjan, diving high to his right at first slip.
Mahmudullah, the captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Sohag Gazi got some batting practice, making the best of the limited time in the final session. Mahmudullah made a quickfire 56 off 49 balls with three fours and three straight sixes. The fall of his wicket, though, started the fun-phase for Mushfiqur and Gazi as the two added 112 runs in 12 overs. Mushfiqur scored 81 off 69 and Gazi hit 13 fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 82.
Opener Jahurul Islam had earlier made a good start but fell for 29 off 74 balls, edging Ishan Jayaratne. Jahurul had been more assured at the crease than Anamul Haque, who struggled to get the ball through the inner circle, and fell for 6.
The bowling attack provided less of a challenge to the Bangladesh batsmen, especially on such a good batting pitch that offered almost no lateral movement to the young pace bowlers Madushanka and Gamage. The main spinner, Mendis, is at an early stage in his career and found little assistance in the wicket to challenge the batsmen.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent