Bangladesh can't find a way out of slump
The snowballing effect of a losing streak is slowly taking over Bangladesh as they prepare for the second ODI against India. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim rightfully pointed out the lack of big innings and poor bowling that caused the eighth straight defeat on Sunday, in the first ODI, but on the field there seemed to be few who could find a way out.
There were only a handful of overs when the visiting batsmen were asked questions. Mashrafe Mortaza bowled two excellent overs at the start, which should have been encouraging enough for Al-Amin Hossain and Ziaur Rahman to use a similar length, but they were kept busy finding the right line. Neither did Mashrafe continue bowling well, as he lost his rhythm too.
Al-Amin admitted that they gave away too many boundary balls to Indian openers Robin Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane who batted at a steady tempo, unlike Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque who found it hard to get going early on.
"They attacked us even after getting beaten once or twice," Al-Amin said. "They were coming down the wicket at times. I think our batsmen were slow in that regard, and when a batsman is slow, the bowlers can attack him. It is slightly easier to get a wicket.
"But their batsmen didn't give us the chance as they kept finding boundaries. In the next game, we will try to make a comeback."
Mushfiqur said immediately after the match that they fell short of a bigger total as the batsmen didn't make full use of their starts. He also believed that had the bowling before the rain break been tighter, India would have had to score at a higher rate afterwards.
"We were short by 20 runs," Mushfiqur said. "When we bowled, our first ten overs didn't go to plan. The wicket was good and they batted well but we gave away too many boundary balls. If they were 70 or 75 runs at the rain break, they would have needed a lot afterwards which could have made the difference.
"The set batsmen should have stayed, and that would have got us to another 20 runs. We were 30-odd in the first ten overs so we had to play catch up with the run-rate. We needed 285-290 in this good wicket, but unfortunately when the set batsmen got out, runs are hard to get."
Just after the rain break when India needed 50 off 56 balls, Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak bowled two good overs but the pressure was released with Mahmudullah bowling waywardly, later giving away 26 runs in 2.5 overs.
But it was a better day with the bat for Mahmudullah as he played his first innings of substance this year. Promoted to bat at No. 6, his 44-ball 41 was important especially as Tamim Iqbal, Mominul Haque and Nasir Hossain looked out of sorts.
In the past 28 years, Bangladesh have had six losing streaks which spanned at least 10 matches. Between 1999 and 2002, it was as long as 23 matches and in 2010, they suffered a losing streak that stretched 14 games.
Mushfiqur is now in dire need of answers in his dressing-room as he looks to avoid extending an already long blemish. His own performance must be a solace, but there are far too many areas in which Bangladesh have looked short of confidence.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84