Tamim Iqbal put his personal grief behind him to score a brilliant century to boost Bangladesh’s chance of achieving a draw in the first Test against Pakistan in Khulna on Friday. Tamim‘s aunt Fatema Hossain, 49, is also one of the five sisters of former national captain Akram Khan, died of massive heart attack in Chittagong last night. But the opener did not let the grief realise by anyone to score an unbeaten 138 as Bangladesh raced to 273-0 in the second innings at close on the fourth day. Fellow opener Imrul Kayes also smashed an unbeaten 132 as the duo set a new record of partnership for Bangladesh to whittle down Pakistan’s sizable first innings lead of 296 runs to just 23. Tamim has now scored three Test centuries in consecutive Tests being the first Bangladeshi, having achieved the feat in country’s last two Tests against Zimbabwe in November. ‘I want to dedicate the three successive centuries to my aunty who died last night,’ said an emotional Tamim after the day’s play. His partnership with Imrul surpassed the pair’s record of 224 runs as the best opening stand for Bangladesh achieved only in the previous Test. They later wiped out Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim’s 267 against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2013 to set up a new record for in any wicket. They maintained a run rate of over four runs in more than two sessions to deal any hope Pakistan had for a quick kill after putting 628 runs in ruthless manner. ‘Coach suggested us not to look at the scoreboard and enjoy our game,’ Tamim said. ‘We did so and even both of us didn’t talk if will we go for attack. We just wanted to enjoy the game and when we got the ball in our zone we played our shots.’ The left-hander, who struck 13 fours and four sixes, said tomorrow’s first session will be still crucial for Bangladesh if they are to save the game. ‘I think the morning session of the tomorrow will be vital to determine the course of the game,’ he said. ‘Still the wicket is good to play. We’ll see first how the things go and then we’ll take the decision.’ Bangladesh could not avoid defeat in any of the eight Tests they played against Pakistan previously.
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