Big picture – History beckons for Bangladesh
Bangladesh might be forgiven for going into this third and final T20I with a sense of Mission Accomplished. A series win against England has been a long, long time coming – 20 years, in fact, spanning three different formats and a range of deep and lasting indignities, from their unready Test efforts in 2003, to their near-miss at Mirpur on England’s 2010 tour.
Since then, they’ve been closing the gap, with at least one victory in each of their last five bilateral series – either side of their greatest triumph to date, the thrilling win in Adelaide in 2015, with which they vaulted into the World Cup knockouts at England’s expense. But at last, in holding their nerve in Sunday’s low-scoring thriller, they’ve secured a slice of silverware that will count among their proudest achievements.
Now, however, the challenge is to go again – to dig that little bit deeper in a situation that England themselves might recognise from their home series against Australia in 2018. Back then at Old Trafford, England’s series was long in the bag at 4-0 with one to play, but the jeopardy of the whitewash raised the stakes for both sides. Cue the feistiest contest of the lot, a gripping two-wicket win, delivered by a Jos Buttler century. The professional pride of England’s double-World Champions demands a redoubling of their focus as they seek to avoid such an indignity; and therefore, the same will be required of their hosts.
It took, after all, a pair of outstanding centuries from Dawid Malan and Jason Roy to topple Bangladesh in the ODI series, and so hand Bangladesh a first bilateral home defeat in the format for seven years. Having now transferred that same focus into the 20-over format, the hosts have shown a range of skills that augur well for a similar era of home dominance.
Buttler’s men are capable of much better than they have produced in the past two matches, but in an era of fixture overload – with one World Cup just secured and another soon to be defended – and with the small matters of the IPL and the Ashes dominating the immediate thoughts of their senior players, can they find enough desperation to avoid a notable loss? Either way, Bangladesh in this mood might not give them much leeway.
Bangladesh WWLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight – Rony Talukdar and Ben Duckett
Team news – Few changes in offing
Mehidy’s thrilling introduction in Dhaka gave a winning line-up an extra cutting edge with the ball and, as it turned out, the bat too. Assuming the pitch offers similar assistance to the spinners, there’s no reason to change this winning XI.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Rony Talukdar, 2 Litton Das (wk), 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Towhid Hridoy, 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 8 Nasum Ahmed, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Not a lot of wriggle-room in England’s threadbare squad. Archer might well be stood down, having shown once again that he’s firmly on track for full fitness. Mark Wood is the obvious man to return on a pitch that offered more for the quicks than Chattogram had. Reece Topley is the other option, assuming he’s recovered from the niggle that has kept him on the sidelines. Buttler slipped down the order in game two. It remains to be seen if that experiment is repeated.
England (possible): 1 Phil Salt, 2 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Duckett, 5 Moeen Ali, 6 Sam Curran, 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Rehan Ahmed, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood.
Pitch and conditions – Another turner in prospect
There’s going to be a lot of spin and uneven bounce, if the Dhaka pitch for the second T20I is anything to go by. And if that favours the hosts, then Buttler says England are happy to take the learnings from such conditions, particularly with the 50-over World Cup in mind. The weather in Dhaka will go from warm to mild in the course of the afternoon.
Stats and trivia
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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