Observation period over for Hathurusingha?
Chandika Hathurusingha's reappointment as Bangladesh's coach for a second stint could not have come at a more agreeable time.
The Sri Lankan took over Bangladesh as they were about to host England for a white-ball tour, beginning with an ODI series -- the Tigers' favoured format. Although facing the versatile English side poses a threat in any condition and any format for any side, the thing that boded well for Bangladesh was that they were on a hot streak of seven consecutive home series wins dating back to October 2016, with the latest being a 2-1 win over India in December last year.
Another factor that might have boosted Hathurusingha's confidence was that the first two matches of the series were to be played at the Tigers' favourite hunting ground: the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
However, within just over a fortnight of his arrival in the country, the 54-year-old can see that things are not as upbeat as they may have appeared in the beginning. Bangladesh's hot streak has been dented by England, who were also the last team to have won an ODI series in Bangladesh.
For Hathurusingha, what seems more concerning than avoiding the humiliation of an ODI series whitewash at home for the first time since being swept in February 2014 by Sri Lanka are the flaws that were exposed during those defeats in the first two ODIs.
Even after setting a modest 210-run target, the Tigers almost clawed their way back into the first ODI before giving in to the patience and skills of a determined Dawid Malan, who saw his side home from a precarious situation with an unbeaten century.
But that closely-fought battle ultimately only served as a warning regarding the discernible lack in the Tigers' batting department, from which the Tamim Iqbal-led side failed to learn. They ended up paying a costly price in the following game, ending up on the wrong end of a 132-run hammering just a day later.
In the first ODI, all batters bar Najmul Hossain Shanto seemed to be far outside their element, a fact that was reflected in their scores. Shanto made 58, his maiden ODI fifty, but needed much more support than the scores of 23, 31, and 16 from Tamim, Mahmudullah Riyad, and Mushfiqur Rahim respectively had been able to provide.
The toss not going their way combined with below-average displays in the bowling and fielding departments exacerbated things for the Tigers in the second ODI as the destructive English batters piled up a 300-plus score. In reply, Bangladesh were bundled out for 194 in 44.4 overs, never looking like they had the right process for such a demanding chase.
Hathurusingha had said in his first official press conference that he would observe how things went in the first two ODIs before making any adjustments. Given how he had previously conformed to an authoritative style of leadership in his first stint, it would not be surprising if the final ODI at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram tomorrow sees more than just a few obvious changes in the line-up or even in the style of play.