Stress on India
Given the erratic behaviour of the monsoon over the last few days, it is difficult to predict whether rain will play any part in the second one-dayer in Mirpur today. But one thing that is certain is that India will turn up at the Tigers' den with everything in their power to stop Bangladesh from writing a new chapter in their one-day history -- a maiden series win against their heavyweight neighbours.
As Bangladesh stand at the threshold of their biggest ever ODI series achievement, one can't help but point towards the enormity of the task. In the last five years, India have only once been beaten in consecutive ODIs in a bilateral series inside Asia.
Pakistan managed to do that in January 2013 when Saeed Ajmal and company spun the Indians out at their own backyard. Two years on and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and his young brigade are hoping to repeat what seemed unthinkable barely a year ago.
The Tigers have indeed made huge strides since getting bowled for 58 in June last year at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Several changes have taken place since then. From the arrival of Mashrafe as captain to the inclusion of the likes of Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar and Mustafizur Rahman in the team, the Tigers, it seems, no longer depend on a single player to win matches.
Even in the first match it was a team effort that saw them through. Bangladesh might have scored more than 300 runs, but their highest individual score was just 60, by Tamim Iqbal. Tamim was ably supported by Soumya and Shakib Al Hasan.
The bowling department witnessed a similar trend. While Mustafizur hogged all the limelight with his five-wicket haul on debut, one can't overlook the way Taskin Ahmed, Mashrafe and Shakib bowled as a team.
Taskin was the one who got the vital breakthroughs with fierce pace and paved the way for his younger colleague. After the duo removed the top order, Shakib, who had also taken the crucial wicket of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, finished off the game.
However, as statistics show, it would be a big mistake to expect the Indians to surrender the way they did on Thursday. As coach Chandika Hathurusingha put it in the pre-match press conference yesterday, India would still have to underperform for Bangladesh to ace the series.
In a similar vein, opener Rohit Sharma, too, sent a warning when he said that it will be 'a different India' in Mirpur today.
Bangladesh players batted against deliveries that came off a granite board during their training session yesterday, much like their training sessions before they went to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup, in a bid to preparing themselves for extra bounce. It therefore may not be a surprise if the Mirpur wicket today offers extra bounce.
Bangladesh are expected to field an unchanged side while India might just look to play around with some of their pacers, going by their form in the first game.