Bowlers 'went into defensive mode' - Mashrafe
Mashrafe Mortaza suggested the lack of an early breakthrough made his bowling unit impatient and defensive in their 70-run loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo. Bangladesh conceded 76 runs in the first ten overs before Mehedi Hasan broke the opening partnership in the first over of the second Powerplay.
There were, however, a few more twists and turns in the third ODI, which Mashrafe later acknowledged as pivotal to his side only drawing the series from a position of being 1-0 ahead.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga gave Sri Lanka their fast start before Kusal Mendis worked hard to keep the run rate above five an over during his 76-ball 54. But when he fell in the 37th over and then Sri Lanka lost Asela Gunaratne and Seekugge Prasanna, their scoring rate slowed down and Bangladesh edged back into the game - only for it to slip out of their hands again in the last six overs, as Thisara Perera and Dilruwan Perera helped add another 59 runs.
Mashrafe said that early breakthroughs in the first two ODIs meant the Bangladesh attack could bowl according to their plans but as soon as Tharanga and Gunathilaka started charging at the bowlers, the switch from an attacking mindset began and was evident even in those last six overs.
"I don't think it was nervousness [in the first ten overs] but we did use up five bowlers during that period," Mashrafe said. "We weren't as disciplined as we were in the first two games. I think we tried a few more things because we weren't getting what we wanted early on. We didn't judge the wicket properly in regards to our areas.
"We went into defensive mode as soon as we had one or two bad overs. It created more problems. We should have stuck to our attacking mode like we did in the last two games. I think we moved away from that plan."
But he also felt that a poor start with the bat, chasing 281 runs, and their inability to sustain the recovery also didn't help. Bangladesh slumped to 11 for 3 in the fourth over after which Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar added 77 runs for the fourth wicket. But what compounded their difficulties was the 16 runs between Mosaddek Hossain and Mahmudullah, who looked in fine touch in the first ODI.
"When we played the practice match, we understood that the Colombo wicket becomes flatter in the second half," Mashrafe said. "They perhaps made 20 runs more, but if you follow Miraz's batting [Mehedi made 51 at No. 8] you could see clearly that the wicket didn't have anything.
"Perhaps the new balls swung from both ends but Soumya and Shakib could have dragged on their partnership a bit further and if the next two batsmen could have made a big contribution, we could have won the game. We needed 70-odd off the last 36 balls, so I think if we had wickets in hand, things would have been different for us."
But he said that they would take lessons from such games where they had to fight back from a difficult position. "We made a comeback as a bowling group in this game, having done poorly in the first ten overs," he said. "I think we bowled well in the first ten overs in the second ODI in Dambulla, but still went on to concede 300-plus total. It is a lesson for us, how to turn around from a bad start."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84