There has been 30mm of rain in Chittagong in the last 24 hours and there is heavy rain in the forecast throughout Wednesday, leaving the third ODI in doubt. If rain does play a decisive part, it will be a huge anti-climax to a one-day series that has spiced up on and off the field.
But if the weather does relent it promises to be a humdinger if though it could be a shortened game. The teams have gone through every dramatic turn possible during the course of the first two ODIs. Top-order struggles, two magnificent centuries, two debutants’ strong showing, a batting and fielding collapse, the captains’ performance and off the ball shenanigans have all made it an intriguing contest.
Both teams have shown vulnerability, which has added to the context of another big occasion. Bangladesh have the chance to become only the second team in the sub-continent to win seven home bilateral ODI series in a row, and England would like to stop them from doing it.
Jos Buttler is leading a feisty unit that bats as deep as No. 11, now that Jake Ball also showed that he can hold his own. What has been delightful to see has been Ball’s effort with the ball in his first playing experience in the sub-continent. His attitude is an asset that can spread through the team over the long winter in Bangladesh and India.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, will have another chance to right their top and middle-order wrongs, and find a way to raise their run-rate in the last ten overs. But all of this can happen only if the weather plays its part but the leaden skies over the port city isn’t saying an encouraging story.
(completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
There was a social media uproar after the first ODI to include Nasir Hossain and after the team management relented, he did the job with the bat, ball and in the field. He scored a run-a-ball 27, took 1 for 29 in ten accurate overs which kept the pressure on England and calmly held the winning catch on the boundary. Now for some consistency from the “peoples’ player”.
Ben Stokes has had an eventful tour so far. After scoring his maiden hundred, his war cry was inspiring to his team-mate as they made a dramatic turnaround. After a duck in the second match, Stokes got involved in an end-of-match spat with Tamim Iqbal. He has always promised never to back down. There will be much focus on him in this game.
Bangladesh’s musical chairs with the left-arm spinner has Taijul Islam back in the squad but it is unlikely that he will make it into the XI. The home team are likely to go with the winning combination, barring injuries.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Shakib Alan Hasan, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Nasir Hossain, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Taskin Ahmed
England may have a case for Sam Billings at the top order with Ben Duckett replacing James Vince as the opener. There is very little chance for any other changes given how their bowlers performed.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 James Vince, 3 Ben Duckett, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 David Willey, 11 Jake Ball
Pitch and conditions
The pitch has been mostly under covers for the 72 hours leading up to the game and there is more rain in the forecast throughout Wednesday. Overall, Chittagong isn’t the best batting-first ground: there has only been one 300+ score and that was in the ground’s first match in 2006
Stats and trivia
In the last game, Mushfiqur Rahim became the third Bangladesh batsman to reach 4,000 ODI runs. The other two are Tamim Iqbal (4,962) and Shakib Al Hasan (4,562).
Jake Ball was only the third England No. 11 to score more than 25 runs. The other two are Steven Finn (35) and Angus Fraser (30).
Adil Rashid needs three wickets to reach fifty in ODIs.
“If the wicket is sweaty, the toss becomes a factor and then many a times the in-and-out that may have due to the rain interruptions can make it difficult. These can bother both teams.”
Mashrafe Mortaza was keeping a close on eye on conditions
“We believe we should have won the last game.”
Moeen Ali keeps it simple