The gates of the Sylhet International Stadium were barely visible from the road leading up to one of Bangladesh's most picturesque venues as hundreds of people lined up to buy tickets yesterday afternoon for today's main event -- the first ODI to be held at the stadium. With the series tied at 1-1 and the match being the last ODI of the year for both teams, a lot is at stake for hosts Bangladesh and West Indies in the third and final ODI.
When the match begins at 12:00pm, Bangladesh's beloved captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza will be leading the team out for the 70th time, eclipsing Habibul Bashar's record for most ODIs captained by a Bangladeshi. The record-equalling match was not a happy one for Mashrafe as the Tigers fell to a four-wicket loss in Mirpur.
West Indies, on the other hand, will be desperate to correct an embarrassing recent record of not winning a single ODI series since beating Bangladesh in the Caribbean in August 2014. Their away record is even worse with their last series win coming in October 2011, also against Bangladesh.
The venue has not been a happy hunting ground for Bangladesh, although the sample size is still small. They crashed to a humiliating defeat to Zimbabwe in November in the venue's inaugural Test earlier this year and lost the only T20I played here against Sri Lanka in February. However, Mashrafe was not too bothered by the two losses, saying that there was no point thinking of the past.
As far as changes go, Imrul Kayes is likely to make way for Mohammad Mithun, who will slot in down the order while Soumya Sarkar moves up to the number three spot. A second change may see Mohammad Saifuddin come in for Rubel Hossain.
"It is on the tip of everyone's tongue. West Indies haven't won an ODI series for quite some time," West Indies skipper Rovman Powell said. "This is a grand opportunity to change it. The guys are upbeat and confident of doing it tomorrow."