Quite a few questions were raised regarding the pitch after the first two matches of the Afghanistan series where Bangladesh wanted to prepare a rather slow and spin-friendly track.
But the idea did not work according to expectations as the home side struggled to post enough runs on the scoreboard. Bangladesh scored 265 all-out in the first ODI against Afghanistan, despite having a good start, as the Bangladesh middle-order was unable to launch in the last 10 overs of their innings.
However, the hosts did manage to win the game by a close margin of seven runs.
It was a rather poor batting display by the Bangladesh batsman in the second ODI and at one stage, they were struggling on 165/9, but debutant Mosaddek Hossain added 43 runs with Rubel Hossain for the last wicket to take the Tigers past the 200-run mark. All the Tigers batsmen got starts but were unable to convert their knocks into a big one.
At the same time, one should also praise the Afghan slow bowlers, especially leg-spinner Rashid Khan and experienced off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, as they utilised the pitch and conditions to perfection and eventually snatched a nervy two-wicket win to level the series.
The Tigers team management was looking for a suitable bowling partner for Shakib al Hasan in the spin department and tried Taijul Islam. But the left-arm spinner only picked up a wicket in two games and was unable to threaten the opponent batsmen, despite having a spin-friendly pitch.
The home side finally opted for a sporting deck, offering more runs in the third and final ODI, and posted 279/8, riding on a magnificent hundred by opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, who has been in terrific touch throughout the series.
Mosharraf Hossain, the experienced left-arm spinner in the domestic circuit, was brought back to the national team in place of Taijul for the third ODI, making his comeback to international cricket after eight long years. He bowled brilliantly and ended up with figures of 3/24 from his eight overs. Bangladesh bowlers displayed a much better show and bundled out Afghanistan for 138 to win the series and finally get the much-needed momentum ahead of the England series.
As a result, the Tigers think tank is looking to prepare sporting pitches for the upcoming ODI series against England. The lone practice match between the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI and England turned out to be a high-scoring affair as the visitors chased down their target of 310 runs quite comfortably.
Sabbir Rahman, who was promoted to No 3 for the first time in his 50-over career in the third Afghanistan ODI, batted well, scoring 65 runs off 79 balls, featuring three sixes and half a dozen fours as he, along with Tamim, added 140 runs for the second wicket and laid the foundation for a big total.
According to Sabbir, the home side have the ability to chase down big totals like 300-350 against England.
“As we will be playing at our home, obviously we will have the advantage. Pitch will be very good and even if they post 300-350 runs, we will be able to chase that as we have the ability,” Sabbir told the media on Wednesday.
The attacking right-hander also informed that he is ready to bat in any position. However, he admitted that he enjoys batting at No 3 in the 50-over game.
Sabbir also stated that they are not worried about English leg-spinner Adil Rashid and said the Tigers have already faced a much better leggie during the Afghanistan series, indicating Rashid Khan.