Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st ODI, Hambantota March 23, 2013

Tamim ends century drought

Tamim Iqbal had a long talk with Jahurul Islam on the eve of the first ODI against Sri Lanka. In the discussion between one batsman who hasn't scored an international hundred for nearly two years and another who is known to possess a perceptive mind, the dominant topic had to be the hundred that wasn't coming for Tamim.

When it finally came in the form of 112 runs that gave Bangladesh a genuine chance to win the first ODI, Tamim was quick to thank his opening partner from the Colombo Test and someone he has known for a long time.

"The biggest inspiration for this hundred was Jahurul Islam," Tamim told ESPNcricinfo. "We stayed up till 11.30 last night and discussed some important points. It really worked for me.

"I was talking to myself every ball after reaching 50. I wanted to keep my process in shape but then after I had hit a boundary, a current passed through my body. I gave a catch but it got dropped. Riyad bhai told me to go to the 70s and then think clearly. Nasir helped out too."

Jahurul's advice wasn't just from outside the field. When he would walk in with the drinks as one of the substitutes, there were more words of encouragement for Tamim. "He reminded me of what he had talked about last night. He told me to that if I try to bat for 40 overs, I can score a hundred. So I would like to thank him. Jahurul is a big part of this century.

"He also said that if a batsman makes 30, he starts thinking of a 50. So when you will reach 70 or 80, you will automatically start thinking of a 100. There was a gap for a long time, but I hope it won't be a longer gap next time."

Tamim hadn't scored an international hundred since June 2010, and no ODI hundreds since February 2010. In the meantime, he had scored 18 fifties in all formats, and eleven in ODIs and his batting average during the hundred-less period has actually been better than his career averages.

His first three hundreds came in 74 games, but the fourth one has taken him another 45. He has often batted at a high strike-rate, but hasn't played the long innings often enough. There was no serious criticism of his inability to convert half-centuries into hundreds but it was a concern for him and he had mentioned it a few times over the past year.

He took his time on Saturday, moving from 80 to 100 in 41 deliveries and moved from nine to ten boundaries in 45 balls. Before and after however, he was at his best. He brought out some excellent shots, and though he survived an easy drop by Angelo Mathews on 54, he didn't want to look back or give it away again.

"I got a hundred after two and a half years. Someone asked me if I have the passion to be one of the best players in the world. That stuck on my mind and I continued to think about it.

"I was sharing with [Jahurul Islam] Omi last night the wrong things I have been doing or what I should do. I was a bit lucky today, I got a life on 54. I think I batted brilliantly after that."

On the day that he ended his century drought, Tamim suffered a hairline fracture while fielding which will sideline him for the next four-six weeks.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

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