Paresh Lohani became the first Nepali batsman to score a century in the three-day match as Nepal failed to defeat Singapore despite having upper hand all the times in the match played at the Indian Association Ground, Singapore.

Paresh followed in 71 in the first innings with unbeaten 101 in the second innings as Nepal declared its second innings at 210/4. Singapore given a target of 273 to win batted out 84 overs making 178/7 to draw the match. Nepal earned 17 bonus points from the match while Singapore managed 13 from the inaugural match of the ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament 2005.

On the third morning, Nepal began from 91/1 with a healthy lead of 153 runs but lost Mahesh Chhettri soon after. He couldn’t add any run to his overnight score of 4 and became the second wicket of Rizwan Madakia who had a day before claimed Kaniska Chaugai.

Shakti Gauchan, who had a bad run with bat before the match, came back strongly with a half-century and an 88-run partnership with Paresh. He got 57 off 78 balls with eight boundaries before being ousted by Singaporean captain Buddhika Mendis. Mehboob Alam couldn’t stay long as he went to Pramodh Raja for 5.

Nepali captain Binod Das waited for Paresh’s century and soon after he completed the landmark declared the innings. Paresh stayed for more than two hours in the crease and faced 191 balls. His 15 shots went across the rope and won the man of the match award.

Singaporean opened their innings with determination not to lose many wickets. The openers, Glen Meyer and Sajith played 38.5 overs scoring 101 runs before Meyer, the son of Nepal’s liaison officer, failed to read Binod Das’ ball. Two overs later Sajith nicked leg-spinner Raj Kumar Pradhan to wicket-keeper Manoj Vaishya.

The wickets of openers generated hopes for Nepali bowlers as they took some quick wickets to put Singapore under pressure. The home team was 131/5 in 65.4 overs and 155/7 in 75.1 overs but Shoiab Razzak (13) and Iftikar Haider (10) played patiently the remaining overs to deny Nepal a victory.

Binod Das and Raj Kumar Pradhan each returned with three wickets but other five bowlers failed to claim any wicket. “I am not satisfied with the result,” Binod said after the match. “We quest a victory. But the pitch was not helping the bowlers and the match started late on the first day due to overnight rain, which cost us the victory.”

Coach Arun Aryal too said the pitch was dead and only helping the batsmen. Nepal’s next match of the event would be against Hong Kong at Kathmandu beginning on April 30.