He is a day away from turning 28. The go-to-player in the Bangladesh squad; their crisis man; he is easily the backbone of the team, be it in any format. Tamim Iqbal – the man, who time and again impresses with incredible performances, once again stepped up for Bangladesh and helped them script their second-best victory in the recent times. Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka at their backyard in a Test and the victory was even more special because it was the Tigers’100th Test. “I think this win started when we lost the match in Galle. We had a long chat with the coach, and the players stepped up,” Player of the Match, Tamim said after the historic win.
After losing the opening Test at Galle, nobody expected the visitors to make a comeback. Tamim’s words testify the amount of confidence and positive energy present in the current Bangladesh team. It was just for a third time they have beaten a higher-ranked Test side. In 100 Tests, Bangladesh have played all the Test-playing nations, but have managed to defeat only England, West Indies and now Sri Lanka amongst the superior sides.
Sri Lanka walked in for the P Sara Oval Test with confidence as they were 1-0 up in the two-Test series. Dinesh Chandimal’s century boosted Sri Lanka to a total of 338 runs in the first innings. In reply, the Tigers’ young openers, Tamim and Soumya Sarkar, ensured their side were off to a flying start. They shared a 95-run stand for the first wicket with Tamim contributing 49 runs to it. He looked at a great touch all the 106 minutes he had batted and was expected to convert the start into a big score. However, Rangana Herath trapped him plumb in front of the middle stump.
Sri Lanka set Bangladesh a target of 191. After his opening partner, Sarkar and one-down batsman were dismissed early, as anticipated Tamim was the saviour. He put up 109 runs with Sabbir Rahman for the third wicket to put Bangladesh right in the game challenging for a win. Tamim did not put a foot wrong in the innings before his final shot that sent him back to the dugout.
Be it fast bowler or spinner, he did not spare anyone. His reverse sweep off Herath’s bowling that went past the slip for a four was one of the beauties in his knock of 82 off 125 balls. Tamim went after Sri Lankan chinaman, Sandakan, smashing three fours and a solid six over long off that went into one of the corporate boxes on the second floor of the P Sara Stadium.
Tamim is one of the major reasons behind the country’s drastic improvement in the past few years. At the start of 2014, the going was tough for Tamim and his place in the team was questioned. He decided to focus on his batting more by deciding to add more composure to his game and keep his attacking instincts under control as much as possible so that he can prolong his stay at the crease.
Since the Test series against Zimbabwe in 2014, Tamim Iqbal was a diffent batsman as his new approach to the game transformed him into a different batter – three Test centuries and a double century, leading his side to memorable victories. His previous century came against England at Dhaka in 2016. He was the script-writer in Bangladesh’s historic victory against England at home.
He might not have scored as many hundreds as his counterparts in other countries for a key reason that Bangladesh does not have the luxury of having a jam-packed Test season every year. However, he has stood up whenever he was needed to.
England are one of the best Test sides at present and not every team have managed to excel against them. At home, they are even more vicious. For a player from a lower-ranked Test side, Bangladesh, to dominate England in the Tests is nothing but fantastic. Tamim, who scored twin centuries during the England tour 2010, averages above 60 against these opponents.
Although Bangladesh have failed to register victories on many occasions despite Tamim’s performances, his numbers cannot be ignored. He is their highest run-scorer in Tests and ODIs. He was their first double centurion in Tests. He might have given up vice-captaincy, he is their captaincy prospect for the future. He scores runs, he is a team man, their most dependable man – he has the every quality to become a Test captain in the future.
— DAILY BRISTY NEWS (@ShuvoKundu14) March 19, 2017
Not to forget, he has something even the legend Sachin Tendulkar does not have – a Test century at the Lord’s. The opening batsman is a Test away from 50 Tests and he already averages above 50. He has scored 3,677 runs from 49 Tests and for Bangladesh to continue shocking its finer opponents, they will want Tamim to maintain his consistency and do what he best at – score runs!