Simi Singh’s maiden first-class century kept Ireland Wolves in contention after a tough first day of their unofficial Test match against Bangladesh Wolves in Sylhet.
The YMCA all-rounder top scored with a brilliant 121 out of an Irish total of 255 all out on a spinner-friendly track.
Singh played positively throughout, striking 10 fours and four sixes in his 159-ball innings, rescuing Ireland from a poor start.
James Shannon (0), Jack Tector (18) and skipper Andrew Balbirnie (10) all fell early as Ireland wobbled on 29 for 3 after electing to bat first on winning the toss.
While Singh unfurled his wide range of power strokes, Sean Terry (20) dropped anchor as the pair shared a fourth wicket partnership of 79 in 146 deliveries.
The loss of Terry just after lunch saw the visitors lose five wickets for 61 runs to go into the tea interval on 169 for 8, with Singh on a nervous 99 not out.
However, he duly reached his landmark century with a boundary off Zubair Hossain, and in conjunction with Donemana all-rounder Andrew McBrine launched a counter-offensive.
The pair added 46 in just 53 balls before Singh fell, but McBrine continued the onslaught strking 8 boundaries in his 57 from 62 balls, dominating a last wicket stand of 38 with Nathan Smith (5).
Smith (1-7) struck an early blow in the home side’s reply as he had Zakir Hasan (1) caught by Sean Terry, but Sadman Islam (22*) and captain Nazmul Hossain (15*) saw their team to 38 for 1 without any further alarm.
“It’s really special to get my maiden first-class hundred in an Irish jersey,” said Singh afterwards. “This hundred will give me a lot of confidence and self-belief. It’s always special to wear the Ireland jersey and I’m glad I could contribute for the team today .
“I had a plan of playing my shots from the start as I knew it was going to be difficult if the spinners got settled. The sweep and lofted drives over the top were the two shots I’ve been working on in the nets over the last few days here and I executed them pretty well today.
“I think 255 is a decent score but we have to be really accurate and patient and wickets will then come in clusters hopefully,” added the 30 year-old.
Irish captain Andrew Babirnie felt the batting had under-performed, but was fulsome in his praise for Singh.
“Having won the toss it’s obviously disappointing to be bowled out for 255, but it was an outstanding knock from Simi, who played with great conviction.
“He set the tone for this tour with the bat and hopefully we will push on as a batting unit over the next couple of weeks.”