Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Sharjah December 18, 2013

Adamant Afridi and a fiery debutant

Plays of the Day from the first ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah

The riposte
Lasith Malinga's first ball to debutant Sharjeel Khan was a well-directed bouncer that the batsman tried to duck but copped on the shoulder, sparking an appeal from behind the stumps. Smelling easy blood, Malinga pitched the next one short as well. Sharjeel, though, had been waiting for it. Quickly he shuffled back and connected with an unflinching hook, sending the ball high over deep square leg to strike the top of the stand. Malinga tried a yorker next but Sharjeel had anticipated that as well, moving across to flick it to fine leg, and another four in the over completed Sharjeel's counter-punch that let Sri Lanka know he wouldn't be messed with, debut or not.

The fortunate waste of time
Ahmed Shehzad was desperate to stay at the crease when he was given out lbw in the seventh over, but given he had been in line with the stumps when the ball hit his front pad, he needed his partner's approval to justify using a review. Sharjeel wasn't sure and as the pair talked, the umpires counted the seconds. Eventually Shehzad asked for a review, only for the umpires to tell him he had taken longer than the allocated 15 seconds to request one. Shehzad argued that decision for a further 30 seconds, but thankfully for Pakistan the umpires did not budge. The ball had been hitting the stumps and had Shehzad been allowed the review, it would have been wasted.

The pliable captain
While they had preserved their review while batting, Pakistan found a way to squander it in the field, somewhat amusingly. Shahid Afridi slid one across Dinesh Chandimal to hit him on the pad, and when he was turned down he turned immediately to Misbah-ul-Haq and gestured furiously for a review. Behind him wicketkeeper Umar Akmal was suggesting the ball would have missed leg stump, but Afridi was being so adamant and Pakistan were so far ahead in the match that Misbah agreed to ask for a review, like a parent indulging a child. Even before the final decision was given, though, other members of the team began ribbing Afridi for wasting a review, and when Akmal was proven right by the projection, Misbah led the teasing himself. Embarassed, Afridi hid his face with his hands.

The attempted piggyback
Perhaps because Mohammad Hafeez was running so well between wickets, Sachithra Senanayake contrived to make life tougher for the batsman in the 15th over, when he climbed halfway up Hafeez's back at the non-striker's end. Sharjeel had defended a Senanayake delivery on the leg side, and Hafeez took two paces forward before his partner called "no". Senanayake, meanwhile, had moved to field the ball, but before he could bend down to pick it up Hafeez moved into his way and bent slightly over. The much taller Senanayake ended up somewhere near Hafeez' shoulders before they disentangled themselves, and both men returned to their places laughing.

The catch
Hafeez had taken a good catch on the leg-side boundary to dismiss Tillakaratne Dilshan, but Sohaib Maqsood completed a better grab to send Lahiru Thirimanne back in the 30th over. Afridi tossed one up to Thirimanne, who got low and swept it powerfully square, without getting a lot of elevation. Maqsood had some ground to make but the ball was travelling at great speed. He had moved quickly to his right and eventually made the catch seem more comfortable than it was, taking it around his ears.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saud on December 19, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Tanvir has been a good option to open- Stats don't tell complete story - look at his first spell vs second spell.

    Remember the T20 when Usman opened - that is what happens when the other teams gets on top from the start.

    Tanvir won't hold his position because Pakistan has better options available - but in current squad he has a role which he is playing decently.

    Junaid has promise but is not Aamir yet needs more pace/swing and get his length right.

  • salman on December 19, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Good Win yesterday however I do think Pakistan need to work on their bowling. I like Junaid and I think he is good bowler but he is not having a consistence run in the team. when he starts to pick up some rhythm they drop him. only if Misbah showed same confidence in junaid then he has shown in Shoail he would be leading the attack by now. Shoail is nothing but average bowler!

    on a positive note, very happy to see Sharjeel doing well in his last 2 inns, Shoaib did really well, he built his inns very well and hw was unfortunate to be run out. missed out on TON.

  • Cricket on December 19, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    In the last 2 years the bowling figures

    JUNAID K: 28 ODI'S, 52 wickets, Avg - 21.94, eco - 5.03 ,

    M.IRFAN : 25 ODI'S, 39 wickets, Avg - 25, eco - 4.57.

    UMAR GUL: 18 ODI'S, 18 wickets, Avg - 43.38 and eco - 5.57.

    S.TANIVR : 14 ODI'S, 12 wickets, Avg - 47.83 , eco - 5.29.

    W. RIAZ : 17 ODI's, 10 Wickets, Avg - 66.60, Eco - 5.86.

    S. AJMAL : 46 ODI's, 84 Wickets, Avg - 20.95 , Eco - 4.2.

    S.AFRIDI : 37 ODI's, 39 Wickets, Avg - 35.51, Eco - 4.71

    M.HAFEEZ: 47 ODI's, 33 Wickets, Avg - 44.18 , Eco 3.86

  • Cricket on December 19, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    JUNDAID KHAN has played 28 ODI games in the last 2 years and taken 52 wickets @ an avg of 21.94 having ecomomy 5.03. Stats below.;spanmax1=19+Dec+2013;spanmin1=19+Dec+2011;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

    What is wrong with thest stats. He is a real wicket taker and recently MISBAH has been preferring W.RIAZ AND S.TANVIR over Junaid. Such a shame.


  • Cricket on December 19, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    For UMAR GUL lovers: Gul has played 18 ODI matches in the last 2 years and taken 18 wickets @ avg of 43.38 and ecomomy 5.57. stats below.;spanmax1=19+Dec+2013;spanmin1=19+Dec+2011;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

    These stats are not good for a PAKISTANI fast bowler having more than 10 years of experience. BETTER TO START TRYING NEW YOUNSTERS AND GET RID OF THE FAILED OLDIES.


  • Cricket on December 19, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    @ Captain_Tuk_Tuk : one mistake in your comment. Afridi made 34 from 12 devlieries and not 24 as you said. BOOM-BOOM had a booming strike rate of about 280.

  • Shahab on December 19, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Afridi is gaining confidence in batting... but my real worry is Umar Akmal's wicket keeping. He is fumbling took many times and has some serious technical flaws. Hope the team management notice it and warn him accordingly. Also, the fast bowling coach should talk to the bowlers, even with new ball none of them are able to consistently swing the ball. If Akmal does not improve soon we will have a major problem as a confident wicket keeper gives extra confidence to a bowler. Also a good team should relax only after the match is over and not let the opposition come back in the game by underestimating the opposition's talent. The SL spinners have shown the team's batting dept. All in All a good show by Pak, but do not get complacent, analyze your mistakes and try not to repeat them. This is a good SL ODI team and defeating them will be a confidence booster. The batting coach should talk to Shehzad, he is moving too much on the crease for an opener, but he looks in good touch.

  • Cricket on December 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Why does MISBAH trust S.TANVIR so much. In the last 12 months Tanvir has played 7 ODI matches and taken only 6 wickets @ avg 50.33 and economy 5.54. stats below.;spanmax1=19+Dec+2013;spanmin1=19+Dec+2012;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

    in the last 2 years Sohail has played 14 ODI matches , taken 12 wickets @ avg 47.83 and economy 5.29. STAts below.;spanmax1=19+Dec+2013;spanmin1=19+Dec+2011;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

    I find these numbers highly unexceptable at this level.


  • Nasir on December 19, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    well, my first impression was out but when Umar Akmal said it was not out, I was sure it was out. however replays proved, for the first time, that Umar Akmal can also get a review right

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    its 2 in a row now for pakistan that they have given so many runs ... 1 in T20 and the other in one dayer .... now they really need to do some re thinking in their bowling department. Nothing serious though.

    I really liked the way bhatti was bowling... 140+ KPH is some serious pace

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