Mushfiqur the lone warrior
A fighting, unbeaten 98-run knock from Mushfiqur Rahim was the only positive in an otherwise horrible batting display from Bangladesh in the second of a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
Mushfiqur almost certainly felt unlucky about coming just two runs short of his eight ODI hundred as the ever-dependable batsman opted to take a single off the fifth ball of the last over of the innings, which stopped the 31-year-old from reaching the magical three digits.
Mushfiqur ended with 98 runs off 110 balls, featuring six fours and a six, during his outstanding knock.
It was courtesy of Mushfiqur that Bangladesh managed to post a respectable total of 238 for eight after being struggling at one point on 117 for six inside 32 overs. However, when this report was filed Sri Lanka made a flying start and were on 150 for three in 29 overs as the home side were well on course to clinching the three-match series 2-0.
For the second consecutive match, it was Mushfiqur who came to the rescue of the Tigers. In the first ODI on Friday, the wicketkeeper-batsman paired up with Sabbir Rahman to steady the ship with 111 runs for the fifth wicket with the latter scoring 67.
Yesterday, it was once again Mushfiqur who took the responsibility to salvage a dismal innings from the Tigers as he and the young Mehedi Hasan Miraz added a 48-run seventh wicket partnership before the latter was dismissed on a 49-ball 43.
However, it was yet another batting failure from the Tigers, who had elected to bat, as stand-in captain Tamim Iqbal continued his poor run of form while the likes of Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah Riyad failed to provide any sort of resistance against the home side.
Tamim (19) for the sixth consecutive innings was bowled cheaply as the left hander played on to the stumps while going for a drive to left arm seamer Isuru Udana while Soumya missed a full toss delivery from Nuwan Pradeep and was trapped leg before on eleven.
Mohammad Mithun once again failed to utilise the opportunity coming to bat at number three and handed a simple catch at short mid-wicket on 12 off the bowling of Akila Dananjaya. The experienced Mahmudullah Riyad also continued his poor form and was bowled while attempting to cut a turning Dananjaya delivery on six.
The previous match's Half centurion Sabbir Rahman was run-out after a horrible miscommunication with Mushfiqur on eleven while Mosaddek Hossain also failed to prove his worth.
Not just with the bat but the Tigers also remained toothless with the ball as Sri Lankan opener Avishka Fernando punished the Tigers bowlers all over the park in chase of the meagre target.
The right hander was eventually dismissed on a team high 75-ball 82, which featured nine fours and two sixes.
Much like their batting and bowling, the Tigers' fielding was also below par yesterday as drop catches and miss fielding remained a staple feature of Bangladesh's game and one can hardly expect any team to win a game with such mistakes.