There was no change in approach, body language, game plan and execution as Bangladesh suffered a 122-run defeat against Sri Lanka in the third and final ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday to end their dismal tour with a 3-0 whitewash.
Arguably yesterday’s was the worst cricketing display from the Tigers as they never looked like even willing to stage a fightback, let alone create a chance for victory, as they were bundled out for 172 runs with 14 overs to spare chasing a target of 295 runs.
Whether it was bowling, batting or fielding, Bangladesh remained below-par in all three departments against their Lankan counterparts all throughout the series.
Apart from Soumya Sarkar’s 69 off 86 balls – his first half-century after ten games – and Taijul Islam’s unbeaten 28-ball 39, there were no substantial scores from the Tigers batsmen, with only two other batsmen reaching double figures.
Skipper Tamim Iqbal epitomised the malaise of the batting department with a score of just two, even if he was dismissed in a different manner this time, getting caught behind while trying to go for a wild drive against Kasun Rajitha. Things did not get any better for the visitors from there.
Anamul Haque, drafted into the playing XI after a year, wasted his opportunity, top-edging a flick against Rajitha for 14 after having struck consecutive boundaries against the same bowler.
Mushfiqur Rahim, the ever-reliable No. 4, missed out on a substantial score for the first time in the series as he departed for 10, but Mohammad Mithun and experienced Mahmudullah Riyad were unable to make a statement of intent and continued their disappointing run.
Bangladesh kept on losing wickets at regular interval as there was not a single partnership which lasted more than 26 runs, reflecting the hapless state of the batting department.
The team had earlier made two changes to the playing eleven, with Mustafizur Rahman making way for Rubel Hossain and Mosaddek Hossain being replaced by Anamul Haque as the team management decided to increase the batting depth. Mustafizur’s absence was initially thought to be due to a niggle he picked up during warm-up prior to the game, but sources inside the team later claimed that the left-arm pacer was dropped as part of a tactical move.
Sri Lanka made four changes to the team, giving all of their squad members a chance to prove themselves against a struggling Bangladesh team, and the hosts unsurprisingly decided to bat first on winning the toss.
Bangladeshi bowlers, however, made a good start, with Shafiul Islam removing Avishka Fernando for six while Taijul and Rubel picking up the wickets of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera for forties.
But just as it looked like Tigers would put some pressure on the batting side, things started to slip away from them.
Courtesy of some poor bowling and catching effort from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka gained the ascendancy, riding on Angelo Matthews’ 90-ball 87, featuring eight fours and a six, and Dasun Shanaka’s 14-ball 30 as the home side added 106 runs in the last ten overs.
While the first match of the series will be remembered as a successful farewell from ODIs for Lasith Malinga, the last one was a tribute to another fast bowler -- Nuwan Kulasekara -- who announced his retirement after the series.
But for Bangladesh the tour will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.