Sri Lanka’s top order have lacked runs, while Bangladesh’s bowlers have hunted in a pack
Although they are 2-0 up and have sealed the series, Bangladesh will not allow themselves to relax in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dhaka. The home team has just got out of a ten-match winless streak and there remain many areas to still get right, with bigger challenges coming up later in the year. The same, if not more, applies for Sri Lanka. It has so far been a tough few days for the visitors who, after enduring a Covid-19 scare, went down in both ODIs quite easily.
But as much as there has been criticism of their selection policy to drop some of their experienced players from the squad, the likes of Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have been around for long enough to carry a batting line-up. Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara and Dasun Shanaka are relatively new, but they all possess the ability to play spin.
The lack of runs from the likes of Liton Das and Afif Hossain could be a worry though. Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain have got a match each, but on the whole, there has been an over-reliance on the senior batters, who may not always manage to score at a higher rate in every phase of the innings.
Bangladesh’s bowling, though, has really come forth in difficult times. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur Rahman have been great support acts to Shakib Al Hasan, while youngster Shoriful Islam didn’t look out of place either on his ODI debut in the last game.
(Last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLLLL
In the spotlight
Mehidy Hasan Miraz is now the second-best bowler in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings, having picked up seven wickets in the two matches. He has taken control of Sri Lanka’s middle overs while using a fine mix of flight, spin and accurate length.
Dushmantha Chameera bowled a superb first over in the second ODI, removing both Tamim and Shakib in the space of four balls. And though Sri Lanka couldn’t take advantage of it, Chameera has come off as one of the highlights for the visitors on this tour.
Mohammad Naim‘s inclusion in the squad suggests that the team management must be seriously considering Das’ spot. Soumya Sarkar and Mahedi Hasan are the others who remain unused in the squad so far. A decision on the availability of Mohammad Saifuddin will be taken on match day. The allrounder had suffered a blow to his head during the second ODI, but was cleared of anything serious.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das/Mohammad Naim, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5
Mosaddek Hossain, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Afif Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Kusal Perera (capt), 3 Pathum Nissanka, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 7 Dasun Shanaka, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Lakshan Sandakan, 11 Dushmantha Chameera
Pitch and conditions
Bangladesh chose to bat first in both matches as the pitches appeared two-paced, thus hardly encouraging big-hitting. The pitches also seemed to get slower as the game progressed, and it is unlikely to be too different in the third ODI. The weather forecast is mostly for clear conditions in Dhaka.
Stats and trivia
“When I see the guys playing in the net they look really good. They’re playing with freedom. But when I see the guys out in the middle, it’s different – there’s pressure. A lot of the guys are freezing.”
Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower on their batting failures in this series.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84