Hosts up against buoyant Pakistan
Thursday, December 1
Start time 1330 (0730 GMT)
Bangladesh's ODI record has improved steadily over the years - the 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand and the win against England at the 2011 World Cup being some recent notable achievements. Both those wins came at home, and it's at home that their spin-strong attack can challenge their opponents seriously, if not necessarily win.
This time, Bangladesh's opponents are a team on a high and significantly superior to those they played in the lead-up to this bilateral series. Bangladesh claimed wins in dead rubbers against Zimbabwe and West Indies - not a great consolation since they were expected to do much better - and caught a glimpse of what they might be up against during their big defeat in the Twenty20 international at the start of this tour.
Though Bangladesh's bowlers were largely economical, Pakistan's batsmen gave their own bowling attack enough runs to defend on a tricky pitch in Mirpur. In their chase, Bangladesh stagnated, losing wickets early, hitting their first boundary as late as the ninth over and showing little resistance against the variations of Pakistan's bowlers, including Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik. Not only do Pakistan have quicker bowlers, their spinners can be just as effective in Bangladeshi conditions. It's a tall order for the hosts to spring a surprise in the three one-day games but they are playing where they play best, and it remains to be seen how strong a challenge they present.
Bangladesh: WLLWW (most recent first)
In the spotlight...
While Bangladesh's heavy reliability on Shakib Al Hasan is likely to continue, Bangladesh's vice-captain Mahmudullah will also be expected to play a significant role. An offspinner and a middle-order batsman, Mahmudullah has played several handy knocks, bowled tight spells and cleared the boundary at the death. He's part of a core of senior players that includes Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal, and his all-round ability is a big asset.
Shoaib Malik will be under pressure. He's not been in great touch since his return to international cricket, after being cleared by the PCB's integrity committee. His scores in his last six international innings read: 7, 11, 2, 0, 2* and 2. While part of a team on the upswing, his own form has been on the decline and another couple of failures won't augur well for his selection prospects.
Trouble with his knee forced Tamim to be rested in the Twenty20 international and he hoped to return for the limited-overs games.
Bangladesh (possible) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Shahriar Nafees/Alok Kapali, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Naeem Islam, 8 Nasir Hossain, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Malik's troubles might begin with the return of Younis Khan, who didn't play the Twenty20 game.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Asad Shafiq, 5 Umar Akmal (wk), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Abdul Razzaq/Sohail Tanvir, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema.
Stats and trivia
- Pakistan and Bangladesh will be playing each other in an ODI for the first time since June 2010, when the teams met in the Asia Cup in Dambulla. Of the 26 games the teams have played, Bangladesh have lost 25 but their only win is a famous one.
- Misbah-ul-Haq has an impressive record in ODIs, averaging 42.42 in 86 matches. He has 18 half-centuries in the format, but no hundreds.
"Pakistan are playing very consistent cricket and it'll be tough to beat them, but if are boys are up for it, we should be able to do it."
Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh's captain
"If it's a spinning wicket we have spinners, if it's not then we also have good fast bowlers."
Pakistan batsman Younis Khan
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo