Confident-looking Bangladesh are keen to end their losing streak against Pakistan when they take on the tourists in the opener of the three-match one-day international series today.The day-night affair at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium will start at 2:30pm and will be live telecast by Gazi TV and BTV.Bangladesh will start the series as somewhat favourites for the first time against their Asian neighbours considering an experienced unit of the Tigers in the face of a new-look opponent.If history is anything to be taken into consideration, Bangladesh’s record against Pakistan is more than dismal,with just one win in 47 matches in all formats.Their only win came way back in 1999 World Cup when most of Bangladesh’s current crops did not even start playing cricket. The 62-run win in Northampton is therefore not a part in the memory stand of Bangladesh skipper Sakib al Hasan.One of his most recent memories with Pakistan is his weeping after the two-run loss in the Asia Cup final in 2012. Sakib was also part of the squad that lost by three wickets despite scoring 326-3 at the 2014 edition of the tournament.‘It shows we are coming close,’ said the all-rounder on Thursday. ‘With a slight change of fortune we could have won those matches. If luck is with us and we can play our best cricket anything is possible.’Bangladesh were also shown the way by the second string BCB XI that beat Pakistan by one-wicket in the warm-up match.While Sakib and his Pakistan counterparts played down the significance of warm-up win, it at least broke the physiological barrier.Sakib indicated that Bangladesh will follow the same formula that enabled them getting success in the World Cup.It opened the door for Abul Hasan to be included in the starting line-up as a pace bowling all-rounder and he will join Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed to form a three-pronged pace attack.Bangladesh are also set to pick left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny, meaning they will go into the game with seven batsmen and four regular bowlers. With both Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain set to play, the home side may reduce a top-order batsman.It only indicates that uncapped Rony Talukdar will have to wait further to make his ODI debut as opening slot is to be filled by Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar.
The middle-order will revolve around Sakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahimm Mahmudullah and any of the trio may come to bat at one down position.Pakistan will enter a new era under the leadership of Azhar Ali, who last played an ODI two years ago. They will also welcome Saeed Ajmal, who will play his first international match after remodeling his action.The visitors suffered a blow when leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the third player to be ruled out of the series due to injury after Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Khan.Pakistan Cricket Board said left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar will fly in as replacement but it is not clear if he will be available for the selection for today’s match.
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