Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Colombo March 31, 2017

Mashrafe targets greater away success

Mashrafe Mortaza wants his boys to keep playing aggressive cricket © Getty Images

Bangladesh have recently won two Tests against teams they had never previously beaten, made the knockouts of the World Cup in 2015, won six of their seven most-recent home ODI series, and have unearthed match-winning young bowlers, so it is time to take aim at the next frontier, captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said.

His goal: to consistently defeat oppositions in their own conditions. Bangladesh have taken a step towards that target in Sri Lanka, winning the first ODI by 90 runs. A rained-out second match has since ensured they cannot lose the series, but they still need to win the third ODI to take the series outright.

"When other teams come to Bangladesh we play well - this is the reality," Mashrafe said. "We will become a truly good team only when we also start winning maximum matches away. I said earlier, before the New Zealand series, that a real test is starting for us - that most of the matches we have won, we have won at home. Now it is about away matches.

"In New Zealand the results weren't in our favour but we were very close in a lot of the matches. But here, we won a Test match and an ODI. So, the progress will not happen all at once. In away matches, for example, we had no clue about the Dambulla wicket - it was supposedly new. We played here a long time ago. So it is difficult to adjust to these things; it will change slowly."

In order to claim the series, Bangladesh will aim to shackle Sri Lanka's top order a little better than they had managed on Tuesday. In that match, Sri Lanka rode a Kusal Mendis hundred to 311 - a total which would have been a challenge for the visitors given the problems chasing sides have historically faced in the island. Nevertheless, Mashrafe was confident Bangladesh could have hunted down that total, but in any case said a little more discipline with the ball may be required in this match.

"If you see the last match, they scored 300," Mashrafe said. "The wicket was very good, but maybe we have to try to reduce 20-25 runs from that. Where they can score 300, we have to keep it to 280. So if we can do something like that the task will become easier for us.

"If you look at the history at the SSC, then it says that 270-290 is the average score, which means that it can also go over 300. So I think we have to be mentally prepared for that and let's see what happens. If we can keep it below 300 it will be easier for the batsmen."

Mashrafe said the toss was important, but also outlined the significance of aggression and body language.

"It is very difficult to be play with too much caution, because you cannot play your best that way," he said. "And if you want to win a game of cricket, you can't do it being defensive. I think being relaxed is very important, and thankfully the team has won two matches on the trot. I will always want that we play the aggressive game. In sports body language also counts."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sam on April 1, 2017, 4:14 GMT

    BD have become a real good ODI team (they are also progressing nicely as a test team; test cricket is a lot harder; you don't become good overnight). BD's biggest strength ishow strong their bowling has become lately. Their first choice attack for ODIs is Mortaza, Taskin, Mustafizur, Shakib and Mehedi and it is a very good attack. Previously although they had a good batting lineup everyone knew BD attack was sub-standard. Now not only is it international standard in fact it is better than quite a few other top 8 international teams.

  • hossai1992294 on April 1, 2017, 4:04 GMT

    Mr. Karthik Eyan can you please specifically mention what's so funny??! Are you reading the article correct? or living in a delusional world?

  • Amir on March 31, 2017, 17:36 GMT

    Jilted lover Karthik Eyan is back. Can't seem to stay away from BD posts. Now if you could kindly explain what was funny about Mashrafe's statement, we would all appreciate it. Otherwise we may think you have a comprehension problem. Please publish.

  • Azad on March 31, 2017, 16:50 GMT

    Bangladesh have turned the corner in the last 18 months, they are not underdogs anymore. They have a young but experienced core like SL once did and Taskin and Mustafizur are proof that they have young fast bowling talent coming along - it won't be long before they take their rightful place next to India in the sub continent with the help of the money that BPL brings to their game and their passionate audience. They have a bigger market than SL and not as many uncontrollable problems like Pakistan. Just like my dear Indian team they will be tough at home and occasionally successful abroad - but sky is the limit for this young cricketing nation.

  • Mohammad Subail on March 31, 2017, 15:50 GMT

    Well said. Bangladesh should tour to Nederland and Scotland before Ireland tour. It will help them to adjust with Conditions as well as support them. Match practice will be the best practice. I found Bangladesh management is not interested to play with the associates. But we came through the similar position and it is our turn to help them. Trust to play with Dutch, Scotish will help us before Irish tour and CT. Now we are thinking only for tomorrow.

  • M.G. on March 31, 2017, 15:10 GMT

    3 tough teams!! - they have the HOST in there, GL Mashrafe.... a Ban fan.

  • minra94430570 on March 31, 2017, 14:51 GMT

    If they can do it on their tour to Europe then it will mean something. Winning in places such as New Zealand, Ireland and England is far more challenging than in Sri Lanka. I remember when the team toured New Zealand, you could tell they were struggling to get to grips with the conditions. Conditions in Sri Lanka is a lot lot similar to the ones we face back at home. I think the side is getting a bit too carried away at the moment. Though it should be a confident boost for sure going into Europe. The biggest challenge of the side will be the Champions Trophy. They have 3 tough teams in their group such as England, New Zealand and Australia, and it is unlikely we will win either one of them.

  •   Karthik Eyan on March 31, 2017, 14:46 GMT

    These bangladesi captains (test & ODI) makes some pretty funny statements .

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