Bangladesh determined to defend record at soil vs England
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) The heat and the unfamiliar conditions make it difficult enough for England players touring Bangladesh. Combine that with losses at the last two World Cups to Bangladesh, and there are plenty of reasons for England to concede that the hosts should favorites ahead of the three-match limited-overs series starting Friday.
Bangladesh has won six consecutive ODI series on home soil, and skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza says his team is determined to extend the sequence against England.
But he's conscious that the England squad is playing at a higher level than it was in 2015, when Bangladesh held on for a 15-run win in Adelaide, and has a completely different composition to the team that lost at nearby Chittagong in the 2011 World Cup.
''If you look at their performance in the last 1 + years, they have been playing like a champion team and won most of the series they have played,'' Mortaza said of England. ''Most of their players have played IPL in India so I don't think the conditions will be alien for them.
''I feel that we are playing against one of the best ODI teams at the moment - It won't be easy for us. But I am confident that the way we have played for the last two years and the way we trained for the last two months, we can do well.''
Bangladesh lost its first dozen ODI matches against England, but has won three of the last four since 2010 - including the two-wicket win at Chittagong in March 2011 and the win in Adelaide that caused so much pain for England.
While England has largely been untested in the typical slow paced sub-continent wicket, Mortaza said it would matter little because of the form the English have been in lately. England is coming off wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan in ODI series at home and went through a series of nine ODIs unbeaten.
Bangladesh had a lengthy break before a series against Afghanistan last month, which it won 2-1.
''We are positive to replicate the brand of cricket that won us many game in the last two years,'' Mortaza said. ''Our pacers are doing well ... they have been bowling on this wicket for a while.
''Yes we are respecting England, but at the same time we are focusing on our strength.''
After concern over security dominated the period leading up to the tour, England made a good start with a four-wicket win over a Bangladesh board XI in a warm-up game.
''The warm-up game was great exercise for us - we fielded in the heat during the day, which is a good shock to the system, and everyone had a good bat,'' stand-in captain Jos Buttler said. ''It was great to come away with a win. We wanted to view that game as another ODI and get into that habit. It was a great win, looking forward to more. ''
Buttler said Bangladesh would start the series as favorite given their conditions but England would focus on an attacking brand of cricket.
''It's going to be a fantastic challenge for us,'' he said. ''The journey that the ODI side has been on is a different side than the one that lost to Bangladesh in Australia.
''We are focused on how we can play our best cricket and that's something that will give us the best chance of winning.''