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Bangar, Aftab share honours

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3. If Aftab Ahmad was on a learning course, Sanjay Bangar was pursuing a path of redemption from a disappointing phase of "not playing to potential." As a result, the ongoing Duleep Trophy match between Central Zone and Bangladesh Cricket Board XI assumed a brief competitive phase at the Karnail Singh Stadium here on Thursday.

Aftab, bowling a probing line of slow medium-pace, created a minor scare in the Central ranks. "I was only aiming to bowl a few overs honestly," confessed Aftab. In contrast, Bangar, who admitted he had not been batting in keeping with his reputation, was concentrating hard on getting a few runs against his name.

Aftab's five-wicket haul and Bangar's unbeaten 91 marked the day which saw Bangladesh concede a first innings lead of 205 runs. Central opted for some batting practice to prepare for the final in Nagpur four days from now.

Resuming at 117 for six, BCB XI surrendered to the pace of left-arm Salabh Srivastava, who did exceedingly well to finish with four wickets. Monjural Hossain missed his half century by three runs but his 102-ball knock, with eight fours, should go a long way in boosting the confidence of this hard-working youngster.

Central again lost an early wicket when Amit Pagnis fell to a square-cut but Bangar and Devender Bundela batted sensibly before Aftab began his spell. Bundela, 53 off 63 balls with ten fours, nicked an intended drive while Abbas Ali, centurion in the first innings, failed to read the slower one. Skipper J. P. Yadav and Naman Ojha failed to utilise the situation as Aftab snared them with change of pace.

Bangar, however, adopted the right approach to compile an innings that should prepare him for the final. "I would like to carry this innings to the final. I'll be happy to stay unbeaten. I was concentrating on occupying the crease because the bounce was variable. I had to apply a lot given the conditions," said the soft-spoken Bangar.

Bangar's was a flawless effort, pleasing in patches as he played some delightful shots on the backfoot. "I have not been batting to my potential but then you can't take things for granted in this game. One ball can change the complexion. I am happy I could gather some useful runs." In his 254-ball knock thus far, Bangar has hit ten fours while Nikhil Doru contributed 29 off 105 balls before he was adjudged caught-behind.

The scores:

Central Zone — 1st innings: 351.

BCB XI — 1st innings: Al Shahriar c Pagnis b Harvinder 0, N. Iqbal lbw b Srivastava 0, A. Ahmad c Abbas b Yadav 18, Mohd. Ashraful c Kartik b Yadav 30, A. Kapali lbw b Yadav 12, Monjural c Parida b Harvinder 47, S. Hossain st Ojha b Kartik 16, A. Razzak c Ojha b Srivastava 12, A. Hossain lbw b Srivastava 0, N. Hossain c Ojha b Srivastava 4, T. Jubair (not out) 0. Extras (b-4, nb-3) 7, Total (all out in 55.4 overs) 146.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-0, 3-52, 4-61, 5-66, 6-108, 7-136, 8-136, 9-142.

Central Zone bowling : Harvinder 13-3-45-2, Srivastava 11.4-2-33-4, J. P. Yadav 14-7-29-3, Bangar 9-2-23-0, Kartik 5-2-8-1, Parida 3-1-4-0.

Central Zone — 2nd innings: A. Pagnis c Jubair b A. Hossain 15, S. Bangar (batting) 91, D. Bundela c S. Hossain b Aftab 53, Abbas Ali c&b Aftab 0, J. P. Yadav c S. Hossain b Aftab 0, N. Ojha c N. Hossain b Aftab 0, N. Doru c S. Hossain b Aftab 29, M. Kartik (not out) 5, Extras (b-7, lb-5, nb-1, w-6) 19, Total (for six wkts in 79 overs) 212.

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-97, 3-103, 4-103, 5-103, 6-189.

BCB XI bowling: A. Hossain 13-6-33-1, Jubair 3-0-14-0, M. Hossain 14-1-34-0, Razzak 26-4-66-0, Aftab 18-9-28-5, Kapali 3-0-13-0, Ashraful 2-0-12-0.

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