The first of the three-match ODI series between Bangladesh and England witnessed centuries from either side as Imrul Kayes and Ben Stokes stole the show for their respective teams.
Stokes was rather cautious when he came to the crease as England were struggling on 63/3 after electing to bat. But the left-hander soon shifted his gear with the help of some delightful strokes. The 25-year old reached his 50 in 45 balls and continued to manufacture strokes all across the field as he made full use of the batting-friendly wicket. Stokes ensured his side would eventually post a big total after pairing with debutant Ben Duckett and adding 153 runs for the fourth wicket.
Stokes though was lucky not once but twice as the Bangladeshi fielders provided him with some much-needed support. First, he was dropped on 69 by Mahmudullah at mid on and it was followed by another grassed sitter from Mosharraf Hossain in the span of just two runs.
The dropped opportunities forced Stokes to become more watchful as he smashed only three fours on his to way to registering his maiden ODI ton. He was dismissed after scoring 101 off exactly 100 deliveries, his innings studded with four sixes and right fours.
But it was Imrul who made sure of grabbing his rare opportunity with both hands as he continued from where he had left off against England in the practice match.
He started off by sending a clear message to the English bowlers as he picked up one delivery outside the off stump and smashed it through the mid-wicket region for a huge six off just the third ball of the innings.
The 29-year old overshadowed his opening partner Tamim Iqbal and took charge of the Tigers' innings. He remained focused and despite losing partners at the other end, the Meherpur cricketer continued to dominate the show, reaching his fifty in 54 balls.
Imrul was quite determined and in no mood to throw his wicket away in spite of cramps. Soon, he understood the situation of the game as his side needed him to stay till the latter overs and he did exactly that.
Shakib al Hasan then played the role of the aggressor while Imrul provided him able support. Imrul finally reached his hundred but just when it appeared that he would guide his side home, he was stumped by interim ODI captain Jos Buttler off the bowling of leg-spinner Adil Rashid. He made 112 off 119 balls with 11 fours and two sixes.