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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from Sri Lanka v New Zealand in Pallekele
Andrew Fernando in Pallekele
September 27, 2012
Catch of the day
New Zealand's hopes were still alive after four balls in their Super Over, with eight runs required to win. A four would have kept them in the hunt, and a six would have turned it slightly in their favour. Martin Guptill got low and attempted a hoick off a full Lasith Malinga delivery, and though he got plenty on it, the ball ballooned high off the top half of the bat. It hung in the air for what seemed an eternity, but Tillakaratne Dilshan got under it at long off stretched his arms out and snatched the ball from beyond the boundary, where it would have landed, sealing the match for the hosts.
Fumble of the day
After Lahriu Thirimanne's boundary, Sri Lanka needed one to win off the last delivery. Having bowled almost two overs of nothing but pinpoint yorkers, Tim Southee surprised the batsman with a short ball, and it deflected off Thirimanne's torso towards point. James Franklin swooped in, took aim and sent a bounce throw to Ross Taylor at the non-striker's end, but Taylor fumbled the throw, and judging by Taylor's headshaking and Thirimanne's jubilance, Sri Lanka appeared to have got home. Not so. The decision was sent to the third umpire, who ruled after an eternity that although the ball had fallen out of Taylor's hands, it had dislodged a bail on the way to the ground and Thirimanne was short.
Pep talk of the day
Mahela Jayawardene has championed Akila Dananjaya's inclusion in the World Twenty20 squad and had picked him for his Sri Lanka Premier League side as well, guiding the 18-year-old as he moves from tier-three school cricket to international cricket in under three months. Before Dananjaya's first ball at the top level, Jayawardene made a trip to the bowling crease and spoke to the youngster at length, discussing field positions and seemingly offering encouragement. Three balls into his career, Dananjaya had Guptill caught at long off. Jayawardene, predictably, was the first person over to congratulate the beaming debutant.
Blow of the day
Dananjaya's debut wasn't totally painless, and not just because Brendon McCullum tonked him for two sixes either. Rob Nicol drove the first ball of Dananjaya's third over back at the bowler, and though Dananjaya got his fingers up, partly in an attempt to complete a caught-and-bowled but mostly to protect himself, the shot was too powerful and Dananjaya wore it in the face. He went down immediately, the physio came out, and after several hair-raising close-up replays, Dananjaya emerged from the huddle of concerned onlookers with cotton up his left nostril, and apparently, fine to continue bowling.
Collision of the day
You would put your money on Nathan McCullum in a fistfight with almost anybody, but Tillakaratne Dilshan took him out in the second over, when the two collided near the bowler's end. McCullum was moving in to collect the return throw from mid-on, but had moved into Dilshan's way as he completed his quick single. The batsman ploughed on through, adding insult to injury, after he had carted McCullum for 16 in the previous over.
Shot of the day
Jayawardene was typically serene as he unleashed carnage on the New Zealand bowlers, but his best shot was not the cover drive off Kyle Mills or the sweep off Daniel Vettori, but the six over midwicket played off the front foot to a length ball. In the hands of any other batsman, it might have been a filthy heave across the line, but when Jayawardene advanced and let the stroke fly, it seemed as graceful and correct as anything played with the full face of the bat.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri LankaFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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