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

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