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Mark Adair rues 'poor decisions' as Ireland let slip their chance for series leveller

Bowler hopes that lessons will be learned for World Cup qualifiers as thoughts shift to Lord's

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
15-May-2023
Mark Adair is bowled after missing a scoop, Ireland vs Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Chelmsford, May 14, 2023

Mark Adair attempted a scoop and was bowled for 20 to give Bangladesh the upper hand at Chelmsford  •  Andrew Miller/ESPNcricinfo Ltd

With four hard-earned wickets and a pugnacious 20 from 10 balls, Mark Adair came close to being Ireland's hero in the third and final ODI against Bangladesh at Chelmsford. However, he admitted that a handful of "poor decisions" with the bat had denied his side a share of the series in their final World Cup Super League outing.
Automatic World Cup qualification had been off the table for Ireland following the washout that blighted the opening match of the series on Tuesday, but with a tough ten-team tournament looming in Zimbabwe next month, there were plenty lessons to be learned for the Irish - some of them harsh ones, after Bangladesh twice came good at the death to win a pair of thrillers by three wickets and five runs respectively.
Ireland's batting was especially culpable in the final game, with four of the top five all making scores between 45 and 60, but none of them going on to anchor a run-chase that the bowlers, in claiming 5 for 13 at the end of Bangladesh's own innings, had kept to a very attainable 275.
"To win games of cricket, someone has to be not out at the end," Adair told ESPNcricinfo. "I would have loved someone to be 120 not out there, or 80 not out, but just wasn't the case
"In the next couple of months, we've got a real tough grind to try and get through World Cup qualifiers, with some top teams. So yeah, it would have been nice to finish this with a win and give us a bit of confidence going into that, but at least we know that when we get into positions like that, we have to make sure we drive them home."
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Ireland's captain Andrew Balbirnie - who himself made 53 from 78 balls - was similarly frustrated about the chance that had gone begging for his side.
"As batters we must do better, one of us should have seen us home," he said. "We were in control for large parts and it is again frustrating not to get over the line. Going into a qualifying tournament we have to get better. We lost wickets in clusters at the back end and that's what can happen in this game."
Adair's wicket was among those to tumble at the end, although not before he had briefly given his side renewed hope by launching Mrittunjoy Chowdhury's final over for 14, including a six down the ground and a pulled four through square leg. But then, needing ten from six balls as Hasan Mahmud stepped up for the final over, Adair attempted a ramp over fine leg and was bowled to put the result beyond reasonable doubt.
"I'm not sure you ever play team sports to have a good day for yourself and lose the game, but obviously I thought 275 was a good score, thought it was around par," Adair said. "The way we started with the bat, I felt we were excellent, we built partnerships throughout, but unfortunately we couldn't really get across the line. I don't think the pressure got to us exactly, but I just think we made a couple of bad decisions, or a couple of risks that didn't pay off.
"Getting it down to the last over is the position I want to be in," he added. "I want to be given the last over with the ball, and I want to be in for the last over to try and chase those totals. It was probably a poor decision from me, but give credit to Hasan, he bowled well and got his rewards at the end."
Although the qualifiers are looming large, Ireland's next big occasion is hardly one to take lightly. On June 1, they return to Lord's for a Test match against England, and for Adair, it's an opportunity to reprise one of the proudest days of his career - when, as a 23-year-old in 2019, he provided the back-up with 3 for 32 as Tim Murtagh's five-for routed England for 85 on the opening day of the game.
"Yeah, it was a great day," Adair recalled. "We went in with no expectations. England had just won the World Cup, so we tried to give the best team in the world a run for their money, and luckily Murts had it on a string and the rest is history.
"I would absolutely love to [repeat that experience], but I'm not sure that'll be the case. We've got a little bit more grounding behind us with the red-ball tours of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. That was tough cricket - tough on the bodies, tough on the mind - but it's something we're looking forward to."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket