Tamim throws England off course
Tamim Iqbal delivered a century of uninhibited power to inspire Bangladesh to a day of dominance in the first npower Test at Lord’s.
England achieved their first objective in forcing Bangladesh to follow on during the morning session and, in keeping with their opponents’ miserable record, must have harboured hopes of finishing them off later in the day.
But in a passage of play that ran counter to Test history between these two countries, Tamim carved the despairing bowlers to all parts in a thrilling 103 from 100 balls.
His unexpected partnership of 185 with Imrul Kayes - a first-wicket record for Bangladesh - left England forlornly scratching their heads and launched the tourists towards setting a target.
The first Bangladeshi to score a century on this ground, Tamim’s will go down as the first great Test innings by a Bangladesh batsman on these shores.
Though Lord’s groaned when both openers fell in quick succession to Steven Finn’s bounce before tea, Junaid Siddique ensured the tourists did not fritter away their position as they have so often in the past.
With one day left in this match, Bangladesh were 328 for five, a lead of 105 with England still to bat. Siddique, on 66 not out - his second half-century of the match - is key to their hopes of a long-awaited draw against major opposition.
After their three remaining first-innings wickets added 45 this morning, the tourists began their second innings at 11.53am, still 224 adrift.
But that seemed to matter less to Tamim than the bright skies over north London, which were far removed from the gloom his colleagues had to contend with yesterday.
The Dukes ball continued to swing heavily, but there were enough loose deliveries for Tamim and Kayes to make quick progress.
With Finn less effective on this occasion, Graeme Swann was summoned to the attack in the 10th over. Tamim’s almost inevitable response was to charge his first ball, before mistiming an attempted sweep to a vacant point.
The 21-year-old looked more assured when he forcefully cut Swann for four in the final over before lunch, which Bangladesh took on 61 without loss.
It was only in the afternoon when Tamim really began to catch fire. When he picked Swann up for two sixes over the midwicket ropes, English minds were sent racing back to Mirpur a couple of months ago and the assault that almost earned him a century before lunch.
Again relying on his natural eye, Tamim used the next hour to thrash 51 runs himself.
It allowed Kayes to take his time over reaching a maiden Test fifty at the 24th time of asking, eventually sweeping Swann for four.
Tamim struck 14 fours in reaching 97 from 93 balls. His response to the weight of history was characteristic of the man, heaving Tim Bresnan for four over a vacant mid-on.
Having spoken before the match of his deep desire to play a Test at Lord's, Tamim celebrated by mock-inscribing his name on his shirt as if it were the honours board.
Tamim’s party was soon over. England had neglected to station too many fielders in the deep, but Jonathan Trott was well placed to catch him when Finn’s bouncer gave him the hurry-up.
Finn produced another rearing ball four overs later to defeat Kayes, caught adroitly above his head by Ian Bell at short-leg.
Lesser Bangladesh sides would have folded, but Siddique was fresh from a defiant 58 in the first innings. He cut and drove assuredly, while Jahurul Islam showed a blunter approach, preferring to hit in the air straight down the ground.
Siddique was looking formidable as he went to 50, bringing up a valuable century partnership at the same time.
But he lost Jahurul for 46, inside-edging the unlikely figure of Trott on to his pad. The bowler ran through to take a diving return catch.
The situation did not deter the incoming Ashraful, who immediately unfurled a set of sweet cover-drives. It was something of a strike for the smaller man when he uppercut Finn’s riser off his ribs for four.
At the other end, Siddique continued upon his merry way, but the new ball allowed England to make belated progress.
Anderson, moving the hard ball this way and that in one particularly impressive over, had Ashraful leaving injudiciously before eventually fencing the sixth ball behind.
Nightwatchman Shahadat Hossain had been something of a nuisance in the first innings this morning, but he was bowled fourth ball by Bresnan.
Those two late wickets left England favourites to claim victory tomorrow, but there was no mistaking the significance of the day for Bangladesh. Their worm may just have turned.
Tickets for day five are priced £10 for adults and free for OAPs and under-16s.