Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 3, 2014

Mendis' googlies, Shahzad's slog

The Plays of the day of the ODI between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka

Six and out
Mohammad Shahzad is capable of some spectacular hitting. He once struck an unbeaten 72-ball 100 as Afghanistan chased down 225 in 31 overs against Scotland. He showed a glimpse of that ability when he waltzed down the track to Suranga Lakmal and flayed him for a flat six over cover. Next ball, however, he lost his head. He came down the track again, gave himself room again, and lost his stumps as he slogged across the line.

The googly
The carrom ball may be Ajantha Mendis' most talked-about delivery, but some of his most aesthetically pleasing dismissals over the years have been the result of a far more commonplace sort of deception. The googly, often arriving at a slower pace and following a loopier trajectory than most of his deliveries, caused VVS Laxman particular torment during India's 2008 tour of Sri Lanka. Against Afghanistan's lower order, Mendis struck twice with the wrong 'un. Hamza Hotak was lbw playing down the wrong line, Dawlat Zadran was bowled through the gate.

The yes-no-sorry
Kumar Sangakkara was looking in the sort of touch that Bangladeshi fans have been seeing for a long time, particularly this season. He was timing the ball well, and battling at times as the run-rate remained steady. But he got out in the 38th over when he tried to take a single but Angelo Mathews first called for the single and turned him down. The throw from Nabi had to be relayed to the stumps, completed superbly by Dawlat Zadran.

The surprise
The Sri Lanka openers Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne would have expected the two Zadrans, Shapoor and Dawlat, to tear into them early on but they had to tackle Najibullah Zadran instead. It was captain Mohammad Nabi's ploy to surprise the two left-handers. There was pace from one end, but at the other it was Najibullah, a part-time offspinner who was having his first bowl in international cricket. He did tidily to give only nine runs in three overs.

The repeat dose
Shapoor Zadran uprooted Lahiru Thirimanne's middle-stump in the sixth over. The 133kph delivery slanted into the left-hander and kept the angle as it found the gap between Thirimanne's bat and pad. It was similar to how Shamsur Rahman was cleaned up by the same bowler in Afghanistan's previous game. The similarity was the loose stroke played by both batsmen, and the gleeful celebrations from Shapoor. This time, it was the flying kiss.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here. Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    For who do not know Angelo Mathews has the highest average for all batters in the tournament ie over 100. May be it is time we find another finisher to bat at 6 or 7 and let Angelo bat at No 4 or so and see whether he can get more balls to face and runs. Also during the last few series he is the No 2 or No1 average in all test matches played. Hope Chandimal will find the touch soon....

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Chanidimal is the future..Mahela should either open or dropafter this tournamnt

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Mehela should have given to open the innings or drop. It is time to give the chance to Pryanjan.

  • ADARSH on March 4, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    I am very much pleased to see Afghan's efforts and the way they fight against top teams in the world. In all the matches, they have had their opposition stand on their toes atleast at some point of the game. It was never an easy game for anyone to outplay Afghan. They will definitely improve to become one of the strong teams. They should get the chance to play against big teams frequently as a series rather than asking them to play in big events only. I hope they get atleast 4-8 series against big teams before the world cup. One mistake that they make is about the "highly" defensive batting at middle overs. They fail to take quick singles or deliberately defend the loose balls thus increasing the required run rate and build pressure. They try to preserve their wickets initially but later on the pressure of run rate forces them to throw their wickets away. It is very important for them to play wisely and try to score at 4-6 runs in middle overs rather than making 250 like a 300+.

  • ESPN on March 4, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Chandi should be dropped

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    Captain Does not know how to Run Between the Wickets. Very sad for Sanga after all rescuing the Side all the Time' and Loose his wicket Anjelo should have got out.

  • Saman on March 4, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    OPINION , you are very wrong my friend. How do you blame Afgan batting when very experienced SL batting also struggled in that wicket. It is a slow and low surface and not condusive for stroke making. With their superior batting tallent and vast experience , players like Sanga , Angelo and Thisara played slowly to go in to 253 which was a very good score on that wicket.

    Have you ever seen Thisara Perera played an innings like yesterday where he played 20 odd balls for 19 runs without a single hit to the ropes ? That is ample proof to show that was a wicket for very good , experienced and intelligent batters can master.

    I'm sure Afgans will be a better team than BD within next few years and one day will be a force to reckon with. Give them some time and give them more matches with test playing nations and that will give them very important lessons in cricket. After all this is a nation trying to gain their footing in the civilized world after a long unrest within the country.

  • Cricinfouser on March 3, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    afghanistan is good in bowling as usual although they still need some more experience and more exposture to major teams, but there batting has not improved, or i can not see any major development before worldcup or t20. they will definatly struggle again in batting, if not they can get from ICC,or experience coaches from outside.

    batting will be like bangladishe even in 10 years if nothing is done. sorry

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