Mushfiqur blames seamers for defeat
After conceding the high-scoring one-off Twenty20 in Pallekele, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim criticised his bowlers' work ethic, and said it was time the country takes a proper look at the state of fast bowling.
"The bowlers have to work a lot harder," Mushfiqur said. "What they are doing right now, is not enough. I wouldn't entirely hold it against them but maybe the team management is to share the blame too.
"I would be guilty if I blamed just an individual. If our pace bowlers had backed up the other bowlers, we would have a slightly different series, especially in the Tests. We are giving them enough chances, but they are not giving us the results. Our next tour is to Zimbabwe where we can't experiment. It is a big series for us, so we have to come to a decision."
Bangladesh were left wondering how some decisions could have changed the course of the game. While the decision to pick a pace bowler with an ordinary record in limited-overs cricket left tongues hanging, the umpiring errors also added to the visitors' misery.
On a wicket that was perfect for batsmen to tee off, Shahadat Hossain had a forgettable evening. He wasted the new ball by giving Kusal Perera far too much width, and bowled short with a pace that was hardly threatening. It contributed to the body language of the rest of the team dropping as they fielded poorly and gave away 26 extras. The 54 runs he conceded in four overs highlighted Bangladesh's pace bowling weakness in the last 18 months. It has spewed over on this tour where it has given Mushfiqur headaches.
However, one would have expected Mushfiqur to go with spin even on a good batting wicket. He had the left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain at his disposal but bizarrely went with Shahadat, a seamer who hadn't played an international Twenty20 for more than three years, and someone who was mostly benched by Khulna Royal Bengals in the BPL earlier this year.
"We probably needed a front-line bowler in Twenty20s. Abul Hasan is injured, so we had no other option," Mushfiqur said. "I tried Ziaur [Rahman] who bowled well in one game, didn't bowl or bat well in the third game.
"There was nothing in the track for the spinners and you had to bowl the quicks early. [Kusal] Perera played well, they took us apart in the first six overs."
Despite Sri Lanka's onslaught, Bangladesh were on course to force a tight game. Mohammad Ashraful looked in good touch again, going after Thisara Perera in his first over with two sixes and a four. But when struck on the inside of the front pad off a full toss, Ashraful almost ran the full length of the pitch thinking it was going down the leg side. The umpire however relented to Perera's long appeal. Replays showed it was quite a way down the leg side. Shamsur Rahman also got a poor decision early in the chase when an Angelo Mathews delivery was slipping down the leg side as the debutant came out of the crease to flick the ball.
"I don't know what else to say about the umpires. During this series everyone has seen the number of bad decisions that we have had," Mushfiqur said. "We can't get it back, but we feel sad when it happens to us. I felt sorry for [Shamsur Rahman] Shuvo, who got out off the first ball," he said.
However, Mushfiqur stopped short of making excuses. "I think rather than thinking about the leg-before decisions, we should avoid getting hit on the pads," he said, in all seriousness.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here