The mindset has changed drastically for the home side after the second ODI defeat as there will be some extra pressure on Bangladesh when they take on a spirited Afghanistan in the series-deciding game at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday.
Bangladesh were shaky in the first ODI after returning to the 50-over format following a 10-month break and despite a few errors, the home side eventually managed to snatch a close seven-run win. But the Tigers repeated the mistakes in the second game as the Afghans cashed in on the opportunity and levelled the series and are now eyeing a historic series win against a higher-ranked nation.
Batting has been the major concern for Bangladesh as the batsmen tend to throw their wickets away after being set at the crease. Soumya Sarkar, who has been going through a poor run in the last year or so, did get a start in the second ODI but failed to push on and post a big score. Tamim Iqbal, along with Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Shakib al Hasan, were guilty of the same mistake, failing to prolong their innings.
So the seniors need to take up more responsibility with the bat to ensure no more hiccups in the series-decider.
Youngster Mosaddek Hossain was the exception for the Tigers on his debut as he remained unbeaten on 45, adding 43 valuable runs for the last wicket with Rubel Hossain to take his side past the 200-run mark. The 20-year old also had a good time with the ball, picking up two wickets giving away 30 runs from his quota of 10 overs and will once again look to continue his impressive form as he also starred in the lone practice match against the Afghans.
Meanwhile, Tigers head coach Chandika Hathurusingha will look for a better team combination after left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain was called up to the squad in place of paceman Rubel Hossain. Mosharraf has been performing consistently in the domestic circuit for quite some time now and has a bright chance of making a comeback to the national side after eight years.
The pitch for the first and second ODI gave a lot of assistance to the spinners and the Tigers think tank may opt for three spinners - Shakib, Taijul Islam and Mosharraf - in the playing XI with skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed shoring up the pace-bowling department.
However, another pacer Shafiul Islam, who is yet to play a game in the series, is also being considered for the third ODI. In that case, Taijul may be left out.
In contrast, Afghanistan have been up to the mark with their bowling and managed to dismiss Bangladesh in both the games.
The experienced Mohammad Nabi will once again lead the way with the leather, along with leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who has so far troubled the Bangladesh batsmen a great deal. Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai played well in the second game and scored his first ODI fifty since last year while Mohammad Shahzad can be devastating on his day.
The Mirpur pitch will yet again help the spinners and the home side's tweakers will be looking to make the most of it.