Bangladesh registered a comfortable five-wicket win over the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in the practice game ahead of the three-match ODI series at the P Sara Oval in Colombo yesterday.
The practice game was a perfect platform for the Tigers to adapt to conditions after recently returning from a two-month World Cup campaign in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Bangladesh think tank will surely keep the practice game in mind to form the best eleven for the first match of the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka scheduled for July 26.
The Daily Star tried to analyse the Tigers practice match in all three departments.
All eyes were on the Tigers’ opening position after the disappointing performance from both Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal during the World Cup. The two could not put on the best of starts yesterday as both missed out. Tamim was dismissed despite getting a start after scoring 37 when he was caught at mid on off a mistimed pull shot. Soumya too was dismissed in the same fashion for 13 and the team management would hope for a better show from the two openers in the first ODI.
In the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, their best performer in the World Cup, Mohammad Mithun was given the responsibility to bat at number three yesterday and the right-hander managed to utilise the opportunity in style. Mithun remained composed after coming in to chase the 283-run target and went on to score a brilliant 100-ball 91 with the help of 11 fours and a six. More importantly, he focused on staying at the crease while also latching on to scoring opportunities when they were on offer.
Mithun added a crucial 73-run third-wicket stand with Mushfiqur Rahim, which laid the foundation for the victory. After Mushfiqur was dismissed for 50, Mahmudullah Riyad also looked comfortable since recovering from a calf injury and scored 33 runs. Sabbir Rahman too looked compact while scoring an unbeaten 33 to help register a comfortable win. It will be important for Bangladesh’s middle order as well as the openers to remain consistent especially in the absence of Shakib.
Much like the batting department, Bangladesh is surely going to miss Shakib’s left-arm spin, especially in subcontinental conditions. Rubel Hossain however did a decent job with the new ball, providing two early breakthroughs. Mustafizur Rahman also bowled well and picked up a wicket but there are still some concerns for the Tigers in the fast bowling department as Taskin Ahmed was wayward in line and length. The tall fast bowler, making a comeback to the side, conceded 57 runs from eight overs.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam and Mosaddek Hossain are expected to take the responsibility in the spin-bowling department and apart from Mosaddek, none of them could impress yesterday.
But the death-overs bowling will be the biggest area of concern for Bangladesh as the selectors included pacer Shafiul Islam in the squad keeping that aspect in mind. Shafiul is expected to join the team today.
Bangladesh will have to work a bit more in the fielding department, especially in ground fielding and high catching, which has often led the Tigers down in crunch situations. Apart from a dropped catch by Taskin on the boundary, the Tigers fielding looked solid yesterday.