It's been a fantastic last few days for Bangladesh cricket as they continued to break grounds by whitewashing England in a T20I series and then scoring 330-plus in two consecutive matches against Ireland. Since that T20I series, they have looked a different side altogether - more fearless, more calculative and most importantly, more successful.
The batters are having a lot of fun with almost everyone getting at least one big score. Shakib Al Hasan scored a fine 93, Towhid Hridoy played two breezy knocks - 92 and 49 - in his debut series, Litton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto scored 70s in the abandoned second game. But what's most pleasing for the Bangladesh fans is to see Mushfiqur Rahim back in form.
The veteran batter had been struggling for runs across formats and failing to maintain a decent strike-rate in domestic List A games as well. But in the last two matches, Mushfiqur showed his ability to score quickly in a position he gave up long ago. After playing a vital cameo in the first game, the wicketkeeper-batter struck a record-breaking hundred in the second match batting in at number six.
The Tigers have been doing a lot of things right but the batters are still failing to carry on for a longer period of time. Litton and Shanto got fantastic starts on Monday but both got out in their 70s. Shakib and Hridoy, in the first match, got themselves dismissed in the nineties despite having ample time.
"There are technical and tactical aspects that we can improve. The 70s and the 90s must be converted to 120s and take us 380 or 400. But we've got the belief now and the consistency as well. We are slowly but surely getting there. But it's a long road ahead," Tigers' fast bowling coach Allan Donald told the reporters ahead of Thursday's third ODI.
Before the England series, Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal batted for more sporting wickets keeping in mind the World Cup in India later this year. The Sylhet pitch has played brilliantly. It helps the fast bowlers slightly early on but then it gets better and better for batting. There was enough bounce and carry for the fast bowlers and the likes of Ebadot Hossain and Taskin Ahmed enjoyed bowling on that wicket.
Tamim Iqbal's form remains a cause of concern as he has gone five innings without a substantial score starting from the England series. The hosts are still searching for a slog-over hitter. Bangladesh may have notched up their highest ODI score in the last match but the fact that will hurt them slightly is that they failed to score even 50 in the final five with wickets in hand.
Ireland bowling attack that missed a few regulars was blown away by Bangladesh in the two ODIs. The South African-born medium fast bowler Graham Hume was the only shining light for them. Hume picked up seven wickets in two matches and was the only visiting bowler to maintain an economy rate of under six.
But their coach Heinrich Malan will be very disappointed if the batters can't make the final opportunity count on a rare Bangladeshi batting wicket. In a 330-plus chase in the first match, they batted aggressively but the effort was sporadic. None of them got a fifty and Bangladesh got their biggest ODI victory. They have quite a few capable players in the batting line-up - Andy Balbirnie, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher - and they will be desperate to put up a good show and end the ODI series on a high.