On Sep 8, 2001, the former Bangladesh captain scored 114 in his debut Test at 17 years and 61 days of age against Sri Lanka in Colombo
Arguably the first ever cricket superstar of Bangladesh cricket Mohammad Ashraful showed the cricketing world a glimpse of his talent on his very first outing in the Test arena 20 years ago today.
He became the youngest Test player to score a century to break the record of former Pakistan batsman Mushtaq Mohammad by 17 days having scored the century at the age of 17 years 61 days, the record is still intact.
Third on the list of the youngest to score Test centuries is India’s very own Sachin Tendulkar who scored his first century against England at Manchester at the age of 17 years 107 days.
After Bangladesh were bundled out for a mere 90 in their first innings of the second Test of the 2001 Asian Test Championship in Colombo and Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 555 on the scoreboard in their first innings, debutant Ashraful scored a spirited and tenacious century on a difficult surface in the second innings as Bangladesh succumbed after scoring 328, giving Sri Lanka an innings and 137-run win. A young Ashraful scored a hard-fought 114, hitting 16 boundaries along the way at a strike rate of 53.77.
Having made is One day International cricket debut for Bangladesh in April 2001, Mohammad Ashraful made his Test debut in September against Sri Lanka at Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo and little did anyone know what the talented teenager had up his sleeve.
Ashraful gave a glimpse of his talent in the first innings of the match, top scoring with 26 as the Tigers were bowled out for 90. Trailing by 465, the 17-year old walked in with his team 81/4 in the second innings and went on to become the youngest batsman to score a Test century. Ashraful made 114 as his team was bowled out for 328, losing the match by an innings and 137 runs.
For his brilliant performance Mohammad Ashraful was also named the player of the match jointly along with Sri Lanka legend Muthiah Muralidaran.
This is what then Bangladesh coach Trevor Chappell had to say about the innings, “His determination, commitment and attention to detail would put a mature and an established person to shame. The manner he concentrates on his batting made me believe that the lad is destined to have a long cricketing journey.”
The middle-order batsman later went on to captain his country in all forms of cricket.
Patchy form and off-field controversies like slapping a fan and admitting to spot-fixing in Bangladesh Premier League matches though brought his career to a premature end.
Ashraful played 61 Tests 177 ODIs and 23 T20Is for Bangladesh. His last international match was a One Day International against Zimbabwe in May 2013.