India’s shoddy batting display and the inability to land the killer blow contributed to their second successive series loss in Bangladesh, after the diminutive Mehidy Hasan Miraz led the hosts to a five-run win in the second ODI with a memorable hundred here on Wednesday.
Miraz tormented the Indian bowlers on way to his maiden century, as Bangladesh staged a remarkable recovery to reach 271 for seven.
India’s challenge looked all but over at 207 for seven, and skipper Rohit Sharma’s (51 not out off 28 balls) valiant effort went in vain as he nearly took his team home while batting with a split left webbing.
India needed a six off the final ball of the game but Mustafizur did well to perfect the yorker under pressure after bowling a slew of slow leg-breaks in the 48th, over forcing Mohammed Siraj to play out a maiden.
Bangladesh won their last ODI series against India at home back in 2015 when Mashrafe Mortaza’s men got the better of M S Dhoni and Co.
The series loss also forces India to go back to the drawing board with the World Cup less than 12 months away.
At 65 for four, India were in dire straits in the run chase, before a spirted 101-ball 107-run partnership between Shreyas Iyer (82 off 102) and Axar Patel (56 off 56) brought them back into the contest.
Captain Rohit did not come out to open after hurting his elbow while fielding in Bangladesh’s innings. It was only after the fall of the seventh wicket, he decided to walk into the middle but clearly looked in discomfort.
It was a courageous call to come out with a heavily taped left thumb and Rohit did provide a ray of hope by collecting a couple of sixes and four from Ebadot Hussain in the 46th over.
Then two sixes off Mahmudullah in the 49th over brought the equation down to 20 from the final six balls. The wily Mustafizur was able to defend that after conceding two fours and a six.
India’s top-order struggled again with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, who came out to open in Rohit’s absence, falling cheaply. While Kohli played an attempted pull on to his stumps with the ball not bouncing as per his expectations, Dhawan fell to a snorter from Mustafzur Rahman.
Both Washington Sundar (11 off 19) and K L Rahul (14 of 28) fell to poor shot selection.
Earlier, India had Bangladesh on the mat at 69 for six, before the last match’s hero Miraz (100 off 83 balls) stitched an epic 148-run partnership off 165 balls with Mahmudullah (77 off 96), to help the home team put up a fighting total.
It was the highest ever seventh-wicket stand against India.
Miraz saved his best for the 50th over when he smashed Shardul Thakur for a couple of sixes, including a sweetly timed pick-up shot, before reaching the three figure-mark in the final ball of the innings.
The visitors had struggled to take the decisive last wicket in the series-opener and ran out of ideas on Wednesday as well, after more than half of the Bangladesh line-up was sent back to the dressing room by the 19th over.
Miraz got a lot of his runs square of the wicket as he picked his gaps, especially against the spinners. He ended up with eight boundaries and four sixes.
Mahmudullah, too, grew in confidence as his innings progressed. It took a brilliant one-handed catch from K L Rahul to dismiss him and end a memorable stand.
After Bangladesh opted to bat, Mohammad Siraj (2/73) troubled the batters with his incoming deliveries, Umran Malik (2/58) used his express pace to good effect while offie Washington Sundar (3/37) had them in discomfort with the extra bounce.
Siraj got his revenge in the same over he was hit for back-to-back boundaries by Anamul Haque (11 off 9). The Indian pacer set up Haque with a couple of outswingers before bringing one back in to trap him in front of the stumps.
Siraj’s next wicket came in the 10th over when the dangerous Litton Das (7 off 23) had no clue about his in-swinger from a good length.
Malik, coming into the side in place of injured Kuldeep Sen, tested the seasoned Shakib Al Hasan (8 off 20) with a barrage of short balls. It was an uncomfortable stay in the middle for Shakib, who eventually fell to a spinner as he mistimed a slog sweep off Sundar.
Like Shakib, Najmul Hossan Shanto, too, was expecting some chin music, but Malik bowled one at 151 kmph on length and the southpaw was late on the ball to see his off-stump cartwheeling.
Mehidy and Mahumudullah got together in the 20th over and changed the course of the innings.
Rohit Sharma suffered a nasty blow to his thumb early in the innings.
Standing at second slip, Rohit was left with a bloodied left-hand when he dropped Haque off Siraj in the fourth ball of the second over. He did not take the field after that and KL Rahul led the side in his absence.