SETTING RECORDS RIGHT
Winning away from home will make us better: Mashrafe
• Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 06:23 PM Rex Clementine in Colombo
“People have to understand that the world over away matches are always difficult.” © AFP
Bangladesh have shown clear improvement in their cricket in recent times, but still they have to improve their record away from home. Out of the 158 One-Day Internationals they have played at home, they have won 64, but of the 165 away from home, they have won only 38.
Since the World Cup 2015, they have recorded series wins over India, Pakistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. But there have been fewer opportunities for them overseas. Prior to their current tour of Sri Lanka, the only ODI series they have played away since 2015 is the three-match ODI series against New Zealand in December last year, where they were whitewashed 3-0. However, Bangladesh have a fine opportunity to set that record straight on Saturday (April 1) where they go into the third and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo with a 1-0 lead.
“We will become a truly good team only when we also start winning away,” Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh’s captain, said on the eve of the match on Friday (March 31). “We have won a Test match and an ODI here. So, the progress will not happen all at once. In away matches, for example, we had no clue about the Dambulla wicket – it was supposedly new. We played here a long time ago. So it is difficult to adjust to these things; it will change slowly.
“People have to understand that the world over away matches are always difficult. If you see recent Test matches, Australia are playing in India and all the teams who are playing in India, it is difficult for them. And when India visit other countries, it becomes difficult for them too. So when other teams come to Bangladesh we play well. This is the reality,” he added.
Bangladesh were lucky to escape in the second ODI after Sri Lanka looked set to square the series having posted a huge 311 before rain washed out proceedings. No team has successfully chased a total in excess of 300 in Sri Lanka, but a heavy downpour rained on Sri Lanka’s parade as the game had to be abandoned, leaving Bangladesh in a position where they cannot lose the series.
“History has always changed. History is made to change. I think they batted really well. Credit should go to them. But from our point we were very confident because the wicket was really good. But as you said, history says that it is very difficult. But we knew that if there were good partnerships, it was gettable because of the wicket. Our boys have been really positive; that was nice to see from the dressing room.”
Mashrafe, however, admitted that Bangladesh had conceded too many runs in the second ODI. “In the last match, they scored 300. Obviously the wicket was very good, but maybe we have to try to minimize 20-25 runs from that. Where they can score 300, we have to keep it to 280. So if we can do something like that the task will become easier for us. As I said, we have to play according to the plan, otherwise it will be difficult,” he said.