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Plays of the Day from the first T20 international between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai
Andrew Fidel Fernando
December 11, 2013
The grumpy catcher
Kumar Sangakkara's dismissal is often cause for unhinged celebration, but Shahid Afridi was anything but joyous when he caught a mistimed Sangakkara shot at cover. The catch was simple enough, as Afridi snaffled the chance in front of his face, but his apparent irritation suggested that he had lost the ball momentarily in the background, perhaps in the stadium lights. The rest of his team did not share his displeasure though, particularly as it was Saeed Ajmal's 400th international scalp.
Ahmed Shehzad had held on to a flying cut shot at point to secure Pakistan's first breakthrough, but he was the victim of an awe-inspiring take from Lahiru Thirimanne, who set a standard that will be difficult to match. Spotting a wide half-volley from Sachithra Senanayake, Shehzad struck the ball powerfully, but aerially, wide of cover. In split seconds, Thirimanne was airborne and horizontal, both arms outstretched above his head like he was reaching for a trapeze. The ball had passed him by about a metre when he intercepted it with his fingertips, and it stuck firm to Thirimanne's palms, at the zenith of his arc.
Ajantha Mendis' first ball of the ninth over was perhaps among the worst he has bowled in international cricket - a loopy full toss about half-a-metre outside the leg stump to Sharjeel Khan. Nevertheless, he was inches from gleaning a wicket from it. Sharjeel swept at the ball, and connected with his top edge, sending it over Angelo Mathews at short fine-leg. Mathews ran backwards quickly from his post, and got a few fingers to the ball as it descended, but couldn't hold on.
Sri Lanka were average in the field, despite Thirimanne's catch, but in the 12th over, a failed attempt at fielding the ball brought them an important wicket. The new batsman Sohaib Maqsood drove a full Ajantha Mendis delivery back to the bowler, who stooped to field the ball, but let it slip through his fingers. Unintentionally, he had redirected it at the non-strikers' stumps though, and while Umar Akmal can feel his run out was unlucky, he contributed to his demise by not sliding his bat.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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