Sabbir Rahman is experiencing his first dip in form, Soumya Sarkar is struggling to lengthen his stay in the middle, and Litton Das is dealing with more than just one problem.

International cricket is asking questions of these three young Bangladesh batsmen, and through their talent, skills and temperament, they have to come up with answers, soon.

Sabbir, Soumya and Litton were all part of Bangladesh batting's collective let-down in the first ODI against South Africa, as the hosts were bowled out for 160 runs in 36.3 overs. It was the first time since December 2011 that Bangladesh were bowled out for a score below 200 batting first. It is not an entirely accurate indication of the larger problem but as Litton, Soumya and Sabbir have shown, there remain challenges even for the newcomers.

Litton made his first duck when he chipped a simple catch to midwicket in the middle of Kagiso Rabada's hat-trick. The dismissal was so tame that the young fast bowler did not even celebrate with enthusiasm despite it being only his second ODI wicket. Litton's shot was on with that delivery but as it happens with first-ball dismissals, the bowler requires a bit of luck as well.

Litton, the least experienced of the trio, is already facing quite a few problems. His regressive scoring pattern since the second ODI against India last month is not helping matters as he looks to stave off competition for the No. 3 batting spot from Anamul Haque, who is in Bangladesh's 14-man squad for the second ODI against South Africa. Mahmudullah, too, could claim that spot with a big score.

If the team management doesn't want to shake him up too much, they will give him another go at No. 3 in the second ODI but it would not be surprising to see him make way for Anamul. What one might also consider is that Litton has gone into the last five matches uncertain whether he will have a dual role as a wicketkeeper-batsman or play solely as a batsman. Such confusion can only hurt a young batsman's chances.

Soumya's problem is an age-old one for young Bangladesh batsmen, something which even Mohammad Ashraful, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim faced at the start of their international careers. They started off with a big score, but later found it hard to convert good starts.

Soumya, for example, has now had eight ODI innings in which he has lasted between 11 and 40 balls. His longest innings had been the unbeaten 127 against Pakistan on April 22. It is still quite an early stage in his career, and the team has shown a lot of faith in his ability to provide them with a fast start, but they also understand that he would be inclined to stop, take stock and build a longer innings. Soumya certainly has shown the ability but he has not applied it to good use. Come the second ODI and with Bangladesh under some pressure to turn around the series, he will be required to change his tact.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has backed all three players, and said that Soumya is discussing the problems with the coaches to come up with a solution. But he also asked them to play longer innings, which will benefit the team.

"Still, Soumya is very young," Mashrafe said. "Again, there are players who play five matches and get experienced and the opposite does not really work out. The coach is talking to these players in the top-order and hopefully we will make them understand their duty.

"These top-order batsmen should be able to play for a longer time. If a batsman can get set he can do a lot better. We want them to bat till 45-50 overs. But we are not able to do that. Hopefully we can find out the problem and apply from the next match."

Both Soumya and Litton bat in the top order, so they are exposed to bigger challenges than Sabbir, who got a longer opportunity than usual to bat in the first ODI. With 20.1 overs remaining in the Bangladesh innings, Sabbir could have batted a bit differently but he was troubled by Chris Morris who eventually got one to nip back and hit the stumps.

It was quality bowling, but that is what you expect from a top side. Sabbir has scored 10 runs in three innings against South Africa, making the next two games crucial for him. He could yet again get a very short innings, so it is always important to make best use of longer opportunities in the middle.

He could take a leaf out of Nasir Hossain's approach in the third ODI. While wickets fell around him, Nasir realised the need to prolong his stay at the crease. He made an ordinary 31, but the 59 minutes he spent at the crease will serve him well in the coming days, especially because he does not usually get to spend much time in the middle.

Since returning from the World Cup, Soumya and Sabbir have developed a reputation for being attractive performers who are also tough cricketers. Litton's domestic form earned him a place in all three formats. Now that all the promise has been made, the three batsmen will be expected to deliver results more consistently. All three will have to find their own answers, for the next game and for the seasons to come.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84