ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Sri Lanka v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Hambantota
The fans turn up...and so does an elephant
ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day as Sri Lanka begin their tournament by hosting Canada
February 20, 2011
Start of the day
Having overcome so many hurdles to get ready for the country's opening match of the World Cup - venue being a jungle just a couple of years back, unexpectedly heavy rains hampering work, unhappy inspection teams to name just three - it was somehow fitting that the start of the game would be further delayed. Upul Tharanga had to wait an extra ten minutes to face the game's first ball from Khurram Chohan: of all the things that could go wrong, the culprit was a minor sightscreen malfunction. The devil clearly is in the detail.
Memo of the day
To boards, ICC and broadcasters: The UDRS without HotSpot is like, well, a World Cup without the world. Twice in successive overs from Jimmy Hansra, Canada was convinced Mahela Jayawardene had edged behind. HotSpot comes into its own particularly for edges. Slo-mo replays suggested the first one might've been a good shout; HotSpot would've confirmed it.
Appearance of the day
The district of Hambantota, to the tourist, can appear a quiet, isolated one. Sixty kilometers to and from the stadium can pass with few souls spotted; at night, you can go without seeing anyone. SLC had announced in advance 35,000 people would be turning up and for a couple of days, it didn't look like there were that many in the region. Yet on match day, in they came, in huge numbers, some from 50-60km away. By midway through Sri Lanka's innings, the general stands and grass embankments were packed with life.
Appearance of the day II
The elephant that ambled up outside the stadium near the southern entrance. Really. Clearly he didn't seem much that interested him and he was soon off, ambling away.
Drop of the day
Canada dropped a couple of chances in the field but as the minnows are being given such a tough time on and off the field, we thought of picking on Thilan Samaraweera for the sake of balance. And the chance, waist-high at second slip from the first ball Zubin Surkari faced, was simple enough that, dare we say it, a Canadian would've held it.
Run of the day
Tyson Gordon's international debut wasn't a particularly memorable one. In attempting a run-out from point he injured his ankle and had to go off. He came out to bat later with a runner and off his first ball clipped the ball elegantly to deep square-leg. And set off for a run, getting halfway down before remembering someone was there to do that for him.
Run of the day II
Henry Osinde, Canada's big, burly fast bowler, pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring strain early in his spell when Sri Lanka batted. After a break for treatment, he tried to run in again, stopped and slowly trudged off the field not to reappear again. He wasn't expected to bat, but he gamely came out as last man ... without a runner; and duly jogged a comfortable single from the very first ball he faced.
Shot of the day
Whenever Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene score runs you can be guaranteed a fine, vast array of strokes. But for sheer chutzpah the shot of the day came from Canada's own Boom Boom, Rizwan Cheema. He'd already clubbed a couple of boundaries when Muttiah Muralitharan came on. The very first ball he faced from him, he lofted him over extra cover for six. As you do.
In our series on cricket in fiction, we look at RK Narayan's Swami and Friends
The Cricket Monthly January issue
Ian Chappell: On the tour of India, the selectors will need to get the batting order right, and strike a balance between pace and spin
Living in the US, far away from the beating heart of the game, a father wonders how he can get the next generation to fall in love with it
The question won't sound so absurd if you think back to the history of helmet use in the game. By Michael Jeh
Some of the reactions on Twitter to Virat Kohli's record-equalling hundred during India's chase in Pune
In the past week, we have seen two shots that left us awestruck: Virat Kohli's jab that sailed over midwicket and Najibullah Zadran's six over the extra-cover boundary despite slipping in the process. Will either of the two top this compilation?
Stats highlights from the first ODI between India and England in Pune
Some of India's finest wins have come with Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in harness at the crease. At Cuttack they rolled back the years to extraordinary effect
The Twitter world rose up to applaud Yuvraj Singh's hundred, in his second game since being recalled to India's ODI squad
Currently, Ajinkya Rahane doesn't quite have the body of work in ODIs that merit his inclusion. What can he do to press for selection in the Champions Trophy?
His Test stats as batsman and bowler compare favourably with some of the best allrounders, which is why his second-innings dismissal in Wellington is all the more puzzling
The shot Shakib Al Hasan played to be dismissed on day five at Basin Reserve defies explanation. It also prompts a few questions
As batting and bowling in ODIs takes on more of the attacking virtues of T20 cricket, where does the format stand as a product of its own?