Bangladesh eye Sri Lanka whitewash...

Dhaka, Friday   25 June 2021

Bangladesh eye Sri Lanka whitewash

 Sports Desk

 Published: 08:04 PM, 27 May 2021  

Bangladesh eye Sri Lanka whitewash

Bangladesh eye Sri Lanka whitewash

To cap off yet another successful home series, Bangladesh aims to sweep the ODI series against Sri Lanka as they take on the Island nation in the third and final game tomorrow (Friday) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

The match starts at 1 PM and will be aired live on Gazi TV and T Sports.

Bangladesh won the first match by 33 runs before wrapping up the series with a 103-run victory by DLS in the second game. The series victory was Bangladesh’s 10th in 11 since 2015 when actually they became a force to reckon with in ODI format. The only series that they lost in this period was against England in 2016.

Essentially it is a dead-rubber but with qualification to the 2023 World Cup in mind, every point is important for both of sides. For Bangladesh, it is more important as they know they have to play away series next time and it would be extremely tougher to collect any point given their track record on foreign soil.

Though the two victories against Sri Lanka was not clinical one, Bangladesh yet found the recipe to overcome the inexperienced Lankan side who left out trusted senior players and thrust Kusal Perera into leadership role.

In both matches, Mushfiqur Rahim anchored Bangladesh’s batting, with able support from the other senior players like captain Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad.

Mushfiqur hit 84 in the first match and 127 ball-125 in second game and on both occasions, he led the recovery as Bangladesh made a shaky start.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz, the offspinner who recently climbed to No.2 spot in ICC ODI bowling rankings, led the attack with seven wickets in two matches.

Ace allrounder Shakib Al Hasan who came back into the side after missing last two assignments is yet to hit back in form, which is why, Bangladesh’s performance against such a depleted side didn’t look perfect one.

But the main headache of Bangladesh is the performance of the next generation players like Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Taskin Ahmed or Saifuddin Ahmed who are considered to lead the side once the senior players walk into the sunset.

Mithun was dropped in the second game for his consistent failure and was replaced by Mosaddek Hossain Saikat who too couldn’t show anything worthy. Since his epic 176 against Zimbabwe last year, the highest individual knock by a Bangladeshi batsman in ODI format, Liton Das scored just 91 runs in 8 matches with the highest 25 coming in the last game. With selectors adding Naim Sheikh for the third match, axe is believed to fall on Liton.

But whatever it is, captain Tamim Iqbal urged the colleagues to come up with perfect game in the third match as they are seeking another whitewash.

“Happy to win the series but we haven’t played out perfect game yet,” Tamim Iqbal regretted.

“We still haven’t nailed it yet. Hopefully, the guys will come strongly in the next game and show their character that requires to be a very good team.”

For Sri Lanka, it is a game to restore some pride, avoiding the clean sweep. Despite finding them in an advantageous position in both matches, they simply couldn’t nail it, largely due to the lack of experience. It’s a thing that Kusal Perera pointed out.

“It’s very disappointing. Lack of experience cost us a lot, middle-order collapses cost us in both games. Our players have to back their strengths and believe in themselves, and play fearless cricket,” Perera said.

If the stat is taken into consideration, Sri Lanka still has the upper hand over Bangladesh, winning 39 of the 50 matches, the two teams played in this format. Bangladesh won just nine matches, including the last game and the rest of the two matches fetched no result. Most of Bangladesh's nine wins came after they became forced to be reckon with in this format.