Today’s third and final ODI against Sri Lanka is not just about avoiding a whitewash or ending a lost series on a high. Perhaps even more importantly, it will be about finding the self-belief that seems to have gone missing over four straight defeats beginning with the World Cup loss against India at the start of the month.
The atmosphere in the dressing room was gloomy for most of the tour of Sri Lanka, during which senior members like stand-in captain Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad have continued to struggled with their form.
A dejected Bangladesh team will desperately be looking to make a turnaround when they take on a spirited Sri Lankan side expected to field some fresh faces in their playing eleven today. The day-night game is set to begin from 3:00pm Bangladesh time at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today.
Nothing seems to be going right for Tamim and his troops, be it with bat, ball or even on the field.
There will no doubt be a lot of pressure on Tamim, who has been struggling to overcome a bad patch that started during the World Cup campaign. The added responsibility to lead a side without Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has only made things more difficult.
Mahmudullah is also under the magnifying glass as the senior members will be expected to guide the team following a rather disappointing finish in the World Cup.
The Tigers’ think tank is expected to make one change in the playing eleven. Mohammad Mithun, who was given the responsibility to bat at number three in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, has so far been unable to fill the shoes of the champion cricketer.
The right-hander managed to score 10 and 12 respectively in the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka and according to sources close to the team another wicketkeeper-batsman in Anamul Haque may take Mithun’s place at number three.
There has been a lot of talk about Soumya Sarkar’s form as he also failed to prove his worth and scored 15 and 11 in the two games. But the left-hander could well get another opportunity because of his part-time medium pace, which has broken a few partnerships of late.
Once again Mushfiqur Rahim will be the key for the Tigers in the middle order but it will be important for the openers to provide a solid start, which has not been the case so far for the visitors.
In the bowling department, all eyes will be on Mustafizur Rahman, who hasn’t been able to provide the early breakthroughs with the new ball in the recent past.
Overall, the Tigers will have to bank on a collective approach in all three departments, or else it will be difficult for Bangladesh to avoid the humiliation of a whitewash in their favoured format.