Head coach Matthew Mott reflected ruefully on England’s messy field and admitted Bangladesh’s slipping into the T20 series leaves a “sour taste in the mouth”.
Chasing 159, the doubles world champion faltered from 100-1 to 128-6 before eventually dropping to 142-6 to lose that dead rubber by 16 runs as Bangladesh clinched a 3-0 win in the series.
While Mott believes Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler’s layoffs of back-to-back balls after a 95-run streak were crucial, the Australian bemoaned a chaotic field performance that left the overall standard far below expectations.
Rehan Ahmed and Ben Duckett, dropping easy catches, were the standout errors before England’s quicks shone at the back end to limit Bangladesh’s 158-to-two to 27 runs in the last five overs.
“It hurts,” said Mott, whose England side clinched a 2-1 win in the ODI series last week. “We showed up and tried to balance the ledger a bit with three (wins) and three (losses).
“Finishing the way we did will leave a slightly sour taste in our mouth. I thought it was our turn, the intro was good, everyone was on their feet but for some reason we just couldn’t get our hands clean with the ball in the air or on the ground.
“It should be a real eye opener to where we need to improve. Bangladesh definitely overtook us in most games but especially in this game. We’re going to focus a lot on that.
“We ticked a bit at the back end to regain some momentum but I think in the best hindsight they were still at least 15 or 20 runs over par on that wicket. We paid a lot for those errors.”
Litton Das scored Bangladesh’s best with 73 of 57, while Najmul Hossain Shanto ended his fine run with an unbeaten 47 of 36 despite being tied at the back end by England.
England’s weak hitting has come under scrutiny in this series, but after losing to Phil Salt in the first over of the chase, Malan’s 53 of 47 balls and Buttler’s 40 of 31 deliveries stabilized them.
But Malan produced an outstanding performance on a move to wicketkeeper Litton and from the next ball on Mehidy had Hasan unbalance Miraz with a spectacular pick-up and throw, putting Buttler out of the way.
That left England’s middle class with an exhausting playing field and they were unable to build momentum thereafter in the final task of a largely successful winter in which they won the T20 World Cup in Australia.
“The turning point was the phase out, it was an amazing field game,” said Mott. “It was a pretty crazy run. I actually looked at the other end to see what was going on and suddenly the temples lit up.
“They support each other with Jos at the back end, he kept his eye on it and was ready to go and it really turned the game around.”
However, Mott insisted there were no regrets for not drafting an additional hitter to his 13-man roster to offer more options after Tom Abell and Will Jacks’ injury withdrawals ahead of the series.
“If you look at how many players we’ve suspended this year alone, we’ve gone way down the depth charts,” said Mott, whose side will defend their 50-over World Championship in India this year.
“There was a realization that we’d probably be better off investing in some batsmen here and pressuring them in these games.
“You only learn from your mistakes and the opportunities they’ve been given here give them time to think and if we get pressured at Worlds I’m confident it will have been the right decision.”