While India's 317 never looked like a threatening score, Bangladesh, at the same time, never looked to be in the game in the third ODI. Leading 2-0 against a higher-ranked side should have given the hosts more confidence of bowling them out for a third consecutive time, but their failure to do so also contributed to giving away runs at crucial times.
This year Bangladesh have bowled out opponents six times in 12 ODIs, winning each time. This is no coincidence as they have looked formidable against reputed batting line-ups. In the third ODI against Pakistan as well, Bangladesh were playing with a 2-0 lead in the series. They had very little at stake but Mashrafe Mortaza shuffled his bowlers beautifully to bowl Pakistan out for 250 before the 50-over mark.
On Wednesday, except for Shakib Al Hasan's nine overs and Mustafizur Rahman's middle spells in the batting Powerplay, the bowling lacked sting. Mashrafe conceded 76 runs for his three wickets while Arafat Sunny and Rubel Hossain conceded lots of runs for no rewards. Shakib and Nasir Hossain didn't bowl their full spells.
But it seemed Bangladesh were half-expecting India to bounce back with a 300-plus score after conceding the series. Mashrafe bemoaned the lack of big scores from the top and middle order, and lack of wickets in the last 15 overs of the chase for the 77-run defeat. But it was always an uphill task to chase such a score on this slow and lifeless pitch.
"I will not name a particular batsman because everyone made mistakes," Mashrafe said. "Most of the top and middle order made 25, 30 or 40. We needed a 60 or 80. Until the 35th over we were ahead of India, it was just the number of wickets in hand that was the difference.
"We would have had lesser problems while chasing if we had wickets in hand. The pitch was really good. After 35 overs when we lost six wickets, we were definitely on the back foot. So overall this was a big mistake from our side. Hopefully next time it will be much better."
Two batsmen got out in the 40s, 30s and 20s each. Much of the focus was on Mushfiqur Rahim today as the other two top batsmen in the side - Tamim Iqbal and Shakib - had already made runs in this series. Mushfiqur has been dealing with a finger injury and didn't keep wickets in the second and third ODIs. Mashrafe, however, said that they were not at all concerned about him and expected him to bounce back soon.
"I don't think there is any problem with Mushfiqur's mentality," Mashrafe said. "If you always expect something from a player it will be difficult. Sometimes he is bound to do badly. I am concerned if he is a little over-focused. There is no chance for him to be less focused.
"He didn't keep wickets because of his finger. If it breaks and he is out for two or three months, it will be bad for us. He is an amazing batsman and he can have a bad patch. The way he sees the game as a part of his life, it is obvious that he will score big soon."
Mashrafe also rued the lack of rain, which was no surprise as he had decided to field under leaden skies, to get the most out of the DLS method.
"We fielded because of the rain," he said. "There was 51 per cent chance of rain and the DLS is favourable when you are chasing. But unfortunately it didn't rain."