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February 19, 2014
Bangladesh have their two-year home record to defend as they look to level the ODI series against Sri Lanka. But having conceded three matches in a row from good positions, they first have to convince themselves that they can win the crucial moments.
Bangladesh haven't lost an ODI series at home since 2011 when Pakistan beat them 3-0. Since then they have won 3-2 against West Indies in 2012 and recently crushed New Zealand 3-0. But out of their 15 ODI series wins till date, none have come against Sri Lanka. They have only beaten Sri Lanka four times in 34 matches. Their last ODI series was a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.
In the current tour, Bangladesh lost the two T20s off the last ball. Then in the first ODI, they twice lost tremendous positions, firstly by letting Sri Lanka get to 180 in 40 overs after having them down on 67 for 8. Secondly, when they were 114 for 2 in the 20th over of the chase. Shamsur Rahman was adjudged run out by the third umpire after replays could not establish the exact position of his feet at that stage and Bangladesh crashed to 167 all out in the 40th over.
Shamsur, who made 62 off 49 balls before getting his bat stuck inches short of the crease, said that the senior members in the side have been talking about how to handle pressure situations, and how to get over the line.
"The coach and the captain, and also senior players have told us how to handle tight situations and play under pressure," Shamsur said. "The Asia Cup and World T20 are coming up so we have to learn from these mistakes and look forward positively. We don't want to keep thinking about what happened in the last game. We want to correct the errors of the first match in the next two.
"Everyone thinks on their own, whether batsmen or bowlers. I think we should have been more calculative at that stage. But there is no point in repeating what we couldn't do. We should just look forward."
Shamsur said Sri Lanka will be under pressure too, particularly because Bangladesh have dominated parts of all three matches, and kept them under a lot of pressure. "I think Sri Lanka are also under pressure. We are playing well at home and we almost beat them. We just didn't have luck on our side.
"Luck was not on our side in the last three matches, although we played well. We still have two matches remaining. We have committed a lot of mistakes together all of a sudden, which prevented us from winning. Everyone in the team is positive. Our focus is to get back in the series," he said.
Bangladesh's other problem is injury concerns to Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza, while it is not clear whether Mushfiqur Rahim will keep wickets in the second match. Tamim's neck strain kept him out of training on Wednesday too while Mashrafe has issues with his knees.
A lot of the onus will therefore be on the younger and less experienced players to stand up to the challenge and get Bangladesh over the line against Sri Lanka, a major mental block in itself.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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