Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Asia Cup, Dambulla

The limping Afridi, and lucky Lasith

Plays of the day from game one of the Asia Cup, between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Dambulla

Siddarth Ravindran in Dambulla

June 15, 2010

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Sri Lanka's fielders celebrate the dismissal of Umar Akmal, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Dambulla, June 15, 2010
Umar Akmal walks away after running himself out needlessly © Associated Press
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Afridi - down but not out
Shahid Afridi had just completed a jaw-dropping century, and was barely able to stand due to severe cramping. Still, when Muttiah Muralitharan tossed the ball up Afridi sashayed down the track and blasted it over long-off for six, falling to the ground in pain after completing the shot. For a severely divided dressing-room, there could be no better example of battling for the team's cause.

Sanga's moment of magic
Afridi's counterattack had leveled the game, and the outcome hinged on whether Sri Lanka could dismiss him. Murali had been collared by Afridi but produced a stinger to surprise the Pakistan captain. The ball spun big and climbed onto Afridi, who gloved it as he backed away to cut. The wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara was moving towards the leg side to collect the ball but reflexively lunged to the off side after the deflection from Afridi's glove to snap the ball and turn the game on its head.

An exception to the rule
Dropped catches have been a regular feature of Pakistan's fielding, particularly over the past few months - notably the fiasco of the Sydney Test and Saeed Ajmal's three blunders against England at the World Twenty20. Today, though, their fielders were spot-on, snaffling a string of sharp catches, the highlight of which was debutant Umar Amin's diving effort to remove Tillakaratne Dilshan. But the habitually butter-fingered Salman Butt marred a spotless record in the penultimate over, grassing an absolute sitter from Lasith Malinga at mid-off.

Malik oversteps the mark
The Butt reprieve was Malinga's second stroke of luck in two overs. Five deliveries earlier he had clubbed a Mohammad Asif delivery to long-on, where Shoaib Malik scampered across to his right and pouched the ball on the run. The momentum was taking Malik across the boundary, so - as is becoming increasingly common - he flicked the ball into the field of play. It seemed a brilliant bit of fielding, but replays showed that Malik had stepped on the rope as he took the catch, giving Sri Lanka their only six of the innings.

A warm welcome
Shahzaib Hasan had the most torrid of starts to his one-day career. He couldn't pick Nuwan Kulasekara's bowling first up, barely surviving as he pushed and prodded in a vain attempt to get bat on the moving ball. Next up he had a stern examination from Lasith Malinga, edging two successive deliveries just short of slips, and then nearly ran himself out trying to get off the strike after having plodded his way to 2 off 14 balls.

Umar's manic running
After Pakistan's shaky start, they were beginning to stabilize through Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi. After the pair had added 25, Umar pushed to the right of the bowler, Farveez Maharoff, and set off for a non-existent single. There was no response from Afridi and when Maharoof pounced on the ball and let it fly, and Umar survived since the throw was just wide. A few overs later, Dilshan didn't miss as he swooped onto the ball from short cover and caught Umar short with a direct hit.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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