ABU DHABI // Naeemuddin Aslam stroked his maiden first-class century to set up a solid platform for the UAE against Uganda on the opening day of the ICC Intercontinental Shield against Uganda at the Zayed Stadium yesterday. The diminutive 27-year-old batsman and his captain Khurram Khan (87) were the mainstays for the hosts as they posted 314 for nine. Aslam was on 122 not out with Qasim Zubair (8) when stumps were drawn after 98 overs of the four-day match.
Aslam hit two successive fours off the spinner Davis Arinaitwe to reach his century in 251 minutes off 160 deliveries. The Ugandans surprisingly did not apply much pressure on the batsman when he was in the nineties. A delighted Aslam said: "It was my first century for the UAE and must definitely rank as my best innings." Uganda elected to field after winning the toss, and struck early by claiming the wicket of Arfan Haider (one) with the score on five. Arshad Ali (33) and Khurram took the tally to 79 before a double strike by the off spinner Frank Nsubuga - who returned with the day's best bowling figures of three for 61 from 23 overs - left them at 103 for three.
Khurram was joined by Aslam, and the pair added 73 before the medium pacer Dennis Tabby had the UAE captain caught off his own bowling to end a threatening partnership. Khurram's 128-ball knock contained 15 boundaries. Aslam played the anchor role after the departure of his captain. The 53-run stand for the eighth wicket with Shoaib Sarwar (20) was the highlight as the tail wagged for the UAE with lower order batsmen providing good support for Aslam.
"We were looking for a 300 plus score and are pretty happy to be able to get that on the board," said Khurram. "Naeem [Aslam] was superb. He held the innings together until the end of the day's play to put us in a good position at the end of day one." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org