Tigers eyeing to avoid whitewash
Bangladesh is eying to come all guns blazing to avoid a shameful whitewash as they take on rejuvenated Sri Lanka in the third and last match of the ODI series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday.
The match starts at 3 PM (Bangladesh Standard Time), turned out to be a dead-rubber after Sri Lanka won the first two matches in quite comfortable fashion to clinch the series already.
A defeat in third match would make it five straight ODI losses for Bangladesh with two other came in the World Cup against India and Pakistan.
Coming off the series as absolute favourite and higher ranked side than Sri Lanka, Bangladesh indeed surrendered in meek fashion in first two matches, paying the price of their wayward batting, listless bowling and shoddy fielding.
Bangladesh is currently ranked at No. 7 and Sri Lanka is No.8, with 11 rating points separating them [Bangladesh 90, Sri Lanka 79].
The outcome of the series regardless of the result won’t affect Bangladesh’s rankings but the rating points would be significantly declined to give the Lankans a chance to breathe on them heavily. So the third match is not only their mission to avoid the whitewash, but also a mission to keep a safe distance from Sri Lanka as far as rating points are concerned.
In case of 2-1 result, Bangladesh’s point would be 88, while Sri Lanka’s 80. But 3-0 result will leave Bangladesh at rating points with 86 in contrasts of Sri Lanka’s 82. It clearly suggested how high the stake is for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka even in a dead-rubber.
But Bangladesh definitely shouldn’t be satisfied in case of avoiding a whitewash which looked highly unlikely given their performance in the first two matches.
They came here to prove a point that they are better team than Sri Lanka and could have defeated them in World Cup too if the match wasn’t washed out.
The mission was also to heal the pain of disappointing World Cup by winning the series at Lankans den for the first time in history. Their rankings and outcome of the last two series here in 2013 and 2017 which they settled for a draw against a Sri Lankan side boasted with the great likes Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan gave them the confidence that they can do it this time around.
Bangladesh was though without the service of their four key players-Shakib Al Hasan, Liton Das, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin-they were still confident. The first two players were granted leave for personal affairs while latter two were ruled out due to injury.
Bangladesh didn’t admit but they were looked completely fatigued as some players are believed to play with injury and niggles. Chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu claimed the players were included in the squad based on the positive report from physio.
The Tigers conceded at least 60-70 runs in ground fielding in first two matches, clearly indicating their fatigued state. In addition they missed some crucial catches, a thing that also cost them some matches in World Cup.
At the same time apart from Mushfiqur Rahim, the off-form of senior batsman like Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad came as curse for Bangladesh. Tamim, also the captain of the side in absence of Mashrafe was most disappointing figure with scores of 0 and 19 in two matches. Mahmudullah, alleged to play hiding the injury, scored 3 and 6 runs.
The bowling was equally wayward with no one can contain the Lankans young players. With so many things in their disfavour, Bangladesh still dared to dream of avoiding whitewash. In fact Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar said they have the opportunity still to prove that they are better team than Sri Lanka.