Plays of the day June 29, 2008

Riaz does better, Sarfraz gets on the board


Wahab Riaz had a much calmer day in the office © AFP
 
Riaz continues from where he left
When Wahab Riaz last played for Pakistan, he bowled two beamers, and before being barred from bowling, had been taken for 86 runs by India. He had bowled 9.2 overs during the Kitply Cup in Dhaka, and continued the good work when he started today. After a first-over maiden by Sohail Tanvir, he started up with a gentle short ball outside the off stump, and Kumar Sangakkara quite liked it and gave it a receipt: "An amount of four runs received with gratitude..." To his credit, Riaz made a decent comeback after the 11-run first over to end up with figures of 1 for 52 in nine overs.

Like Kamran, like Sarfraz?
Sarfraz Ahmed, brought in to replace Kamran Akmal, who two days ago was quite audaciously named the Asian wicketkeeper of the year for the Castrol awards, hasn't had the greatest of comebacks to the Pakistan side. He failed to get on the board after fumbling a few takes in his first two Asia Cup matches, but he got his first dismissal of the tournament when he caught Chamara Silva off Tanvir.

Why Malik shouldn't open part II
Salman Butt got out for a duck while opening with Shoaib Malik in the first match of the Asia Cup. Today, he once again failed to score, making it the second consecutive time that's happened. Although Butt managed 35 against India, he was bowled by Chaminda Vaas on the first ball of Pakistan's chase.

Where are the extras?
Sri Lanka have always been disciplined, but consider this: the first extras Pakistan secured in their innings came in the 33rd over. No over-stepping, no wides, no byes, no leg-byes, nothing hitting the helmet ... nothing for 194 balls. Let's leave it for the statistically inclined to decide if this is the best effort when it comes to extras.

Can't wait for Euro
When Ajantha Mendis bowled Misbah-ul-Haq in the 47th over, Ian Gould sent out a strong signal. With the Euro 2008 final to start soon after the end of this match, Gould wanted it to be known that the match be finished fast. When the fielding side gave him the ball, he started dribbling it like a football player.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo