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Plays of the day from the third ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Andrew Fidel Fernando
December 20, 2013
The villainous clod
Tillakaratne Dilshan had run Kusal Perera out earlier in the innings, and the universe contrived to ensure he would suffer the same fate as penance, when it placed a soft clod of dirt exactly in the spot where Dilshan grounded his bat when attempting another quick single. Dilshan hit the ball to midwicket in the 15th over and called his partner through immediately, and though he expected to comfortably make his ground, his bat hit a soft spot in the earth just centimetres from the popping crease and jerked out of his hand. The throw from the fielder found its mark and Dilshan's smooth progress was cut short.
Rugby and football players often earn an advantage through feinted movements, but Kumar Sangakkara brought "the dummy" to cricket in somewhat amusing fashion, much to Ahmed Shehzad's chagrin. Having hit the ball wide of long-on, Shehzad turned quickly and sprinted back for a second, but when he was about halfway down the pitch, Sangakkara faked a return take and moved his gloves to the bails as if he was about to remove them. Shocked by the apparent speed of the throw, Shehzad dived hard at the crease, only to realise the ball had only arrived a few seconds later. Sangakkara wore a grin that became a chuckle when he saw Shehzad's expression of annoyance.
The perceptive decision
It's not often a batsman is lbw after middling the ball, and almost as rare for an umpire to give a batsman out when only the bowler appeals. Ahsad Raza bucked both those conventions when he sent Sharjeel Khan back in the second over, a decision that proved as correct as it was courageous. Sharjeel came forward to push a Lasith Malinga length delivery towards cover, and though he hit the ball exactly where he intended it to go, the ball had flicked the top flap of his pad on its way to the bat. Malinga's appeal was belated and unsupported, but it was enough to move the umpire to raise his finger. His judgement was proved precise on review.
The futile diving take
Thisara Perera thought he had taken a blinder in the 17th over, when he took two brisk steps and dived to his left to intercept an aerial leg-side flick from Ahmed Shehzad. On first look he seemed to have taken the catch cleanly, but when Shehzad stood his ground, the umpires sent the decision upstairs - as is their wont on such occasions. The replays couldn't provide a conclusive decision either way, so Shehzad batted on.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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