DHAKA - The ODI series has been won by Sri Lanka after they took the second game in Mirpur by 61 runs, but for a 3-0 sweep they will have to win without Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka have not been without any of them in an ODI since Sangakkara made his debut in 2000. It gives a hurting Bangladesh an opportunity to salvage a victory and head into the Asia Cup with some confidence.
Bangladesh's capitulation in the first two matches brought into focus some major concerns. Their top order has not fired collectively, and when the team has made a start, no one has made it count. The more capable middle order is having a poor time too, especially Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah. The bowling attack has blown hot and cold, particularly the seam bowlers. Offspinner Sohag Gazi has been mediocre in this series. The problems are many and the team has faced mental barriers in crucial times.
There are expectations of this Bangladesh team but it comes from their improving record at home. They have failed against Sri Lanka, though, a consistently tough opponent for Bangladesh over the years.
Sri Lanka won the ODI series, in addition to the Tests and Twenty20s, because they papered over their cracks.
The openers Kusal Perera and Dilshan contributed little in the first two games, and Dinesh Chandimal's form is also a concern. Sangakkara produced another hundred in the second ODI, but with him being rested for the final game Sri Lanka will want more from Kithuruwan Vithanage and Ashan Priyanjan. Their bowling looks a little thin without the extra pace bowler, despite the presence of Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews in the attack.
Angelo Mathews hasn't scored an ODI century but he remains highly effective as a middle-order batsman. He made an unbeaten 56, his 17th ODI fifty, in the second ODI and transformed Sri Lanka's total to a formidable one. Mushfiqur Rahim top scored for Bangladesh in the second game but the innings went in vain. With the captaincy weighing on him, he needs to continue to lead from the front with his batting.
Bangladesh do not have room to experiment but there are some form and fitness concerns. Once again Mashrafe Mortaza's fitness will be assessed on the morning of the match. Mahmudullah is under scrutiny and could be replaced by Naeem Islam.
Sri Lanka are without Dilshan, who suffered a hand injury in the second ODI. He is returning home but hasn't been ruled out of the Asia Cup yet. Dilshan had failed in the first two ODIs and his absence is an opportunity to give someone else a chance. Lahiru Thirimanne will join the squad as a replacement.
Sangakkara has also been rested for the final game.
SRI LANKA: Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Angelo Mathews (capt), Thisara Perera, Angelo Perera, Sachitra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis
BANGLADESH: Shamsur Rahman, Anamul Haque (wk), Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah, Sohag Gazi, Arafat Sunny, Mashrafe Mortaza, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain.