India v Sri Lanka, 2nd semi-final, Champions Trophy, Cardiff June 20, 2013

Dhoni fancies a bowl

Plays of the day from the second Champions Trophy semi-final between India and Sri Lanka in Cardiff

The body blows

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the first, and heaviest, casualty of a plague of leg injuries that hit the first hour of play. He sustained his injury in the fourth over and left the field in the fifth. Umesh Yadav had Lahiru Thirimanne hobbling after hitting him just above the knee before Suresh Raina conspired to put players' legs in more danger. First his throw from second slip hit Yadav in the back of the knee leaving the bowler with a limp for the rest of the over and then from cover, he struck Thirimanne again, with a return throw at the non-striker's end, prompting more pained hops.

The surprise

With the ball swinging and seaming around, Virat Kohli might have fancied his chances of delivering a few overs of seam-up, but ever the unconventional thinker, MS Dhoni had other ideas. Before the 23rd over began, Dhoni peeled off his pads and handed them to Dinesh Karthik, as he began warming up at short fine leg. The largely-Indian crowd came alive when he marked out his run-up and roared when the umpire gave Mahela Jayawardene out lbw in his first over, but the celebrations were short-lived, as Jayawardene's inside edge became apparent on review.

The other one

R Ashwin was the least disciplined of India's bowlers, and when he pitched the penultimate ball of the 48th over wide of leg stump, Nuwan Kulasekara justifiably assumed he would add to India's extras tally. Only Ashwin had not bowled his stock offspinner. Coming from around the wicket, he slipped in the carrom ball which turned appreciably to clip the leg stump as Kulasekara shouldered arms. Not sure if he was bowled or stumped, the umpires asked the third umpire for help, perhaps more in confusion and disbelief, and the replays confirmed that the ball had dislodged the bail on the way through to the keeper.

The steal

The sight of Dilshan limping back onto the field with a wounded leg with just thirteen balls remaining raised more than an eyebrow, considering he was seen having trouble placing any weight on his right leg. With five deliveries left, Lasith Malinga lofted Ashwin towards wide long-on where Rohit Sharma was lining up to take the catch. Suddenly, a spectator carrying a banner, jumped the fence and charged into the ground. The intruder had caught everyone unaware and even mildly shocked Rohit, who got distracted. The spectator had rushed towards the middle, having left a couple of security stewards in his trail. Amidst this chaos, and as the crowd went berserk, Dilshan had smartly stolen three runs. Even if it did not count much in the context of the result, it was a steal by all means.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prem on June 22, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    That ball which had an intrusion with three runs coming should have been declared a dead ball. With an intrusion before the ball was over should be counted as dead, IMO. Those runs were not fair.

  • Ashok on June 21, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    I like the 2 plays of the day, the best. The carom ball from Ashwin was great- even a regular leg spinner could not have done better. Kudos to Ashwin for his great "Carrom" Ball. Secondly, it was great innovative & adventurous move by Dhoni to cast off his pads & bowl Medium pace. It certainly saved his pace bowlers from uneconomical death bowling! Dhoni gave just 17 runs in 4 overs. In this connection I like to quote similar precedents. Abid Ali opened the bowling for India in late 60's. I played against Abid in Hyderabad A League when he was a WK/opening batsman for the State Bank. I was quite amazed to see his conversion into India's Test opening bowler when I watched him on English TV. Dhoni may not rise to Abid's level. Nevertheless MSD is a very talented Cricketer.

  • Abulfasal on June 21, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Not joking... Current IND will be unbeatable if Yuvraj comes in place of Dhoni .

  • sudheer on June 21, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    we done it in semis , we do it in finals...enough said!! :)

  • Ajith Prasad on June 21, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    I wouldn't read celebrate too much with this victory given the number of edges the Indian openers created. Bowling however has improved a lot and so is the fielding. Overall, this champions trophy has been marred by the weather and player injuries. Would like to wait for the South Africa series for some good cricket... In the meantime, Kudos to the Indian young guns for their commitment, they are definitely a good ODI side in the making! We should persist with this side rather than unsettling it with any introduction of Sehwag, Gambhir or Yuvraj whose attitude problems will spoil the current spirit!

  • Vivek on June 21, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    I wonder whether the ball in which the intruders came in the ground should have been declared as a dead ball.

    Remember in the indoor games when the ball hits the roof, it's declared as a dead ball doesn't matter if everybody assumes it to be a six.

  • Sri on June 21, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    @Batmanindallas.. Perhaps true in general, but Sehwag is out of sorts *IN INDIA* today.. And has had enough good centuries and high scores *BOTH* in India and outside to not warrant a comparison with Dilshan. Maybe you meant to say, Shahid Afridi.

  • Rahul on June 21, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    @Batmanindallas: I don't think we were watching the same match. Out of all the Sri Lankan batsmen, Dilshan looked the most comfortable on a seaming wicket. If it wasn't for his injury, he could have pushed SL to over 200 with ease.

    @ article: How was the protestor incident not called a dead ball? Someone from the crowd waves a banner a few feet away from your while you are trying to get a high catch isn't right. Those 3 points should not have been awarded, if this match was a thriller it would have been a much bigger deal.

  • Sriram on June 20, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    @Amit Bhatnagar - I think @Batmanindallas is perfectly right. Sehwag's career test average is 49.34 while outside Sub-continent it is only 35.84 and similarly for ODIs it is 35.05 overall and 30.4 outside sub-continent. He is not as effective in shot making outside sub-continent as he is here, thanks to the seam movement.;continent=1;continent=3;continent=4;continent=5;filter=advanced;orderby=start;template=results;type=allround;view=innings

    And from where did Ricky Ponting come into this argument?

  • TR on June 20, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    BKumar, IMO is the key for India. He always gets a wicket or two in his 1st spell and starts the doubt in the opponents minds. How I wish there is one more bowler like him in the squad to attack at both ends !

    SL lost this match in their minds in the first few overs of the morning, before they lost actually.