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Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi
December 25, 2013
Umar Gul was fortunate to pick up his first wicket with a short and wide ball but he set up the second one superbly. He first beat Tillakaratne Dilshan on the drive with an outswinger. The next one pitched around the same length and Dilshan preferred caution this time, shouldering arms. To his horror, this one jagged back in and hit the top of off stump. Gul immediately took off on a celebratory run, arms spread wide.
At 36 for 3 with an experienced fast bowler in rhythm, it wasn't the greatest time for a debutant to walk in. But Ashan Priyanjan was speeding away after feeling the first few deliveries from the crease. And it was Gul whom he went after. Off his eighth delivery, Priyanjan eased forward to stroke Gul through extra cover. Three balls later, Gul bounced him and was met with a powerful pull in front of square. The last ball of the over was punched off the back foot through cover for four more. Three boundaries in an over off the opposition's premier fast bowler. Some start for a debutant.
Priyanjan and Kumar Sangakkara got together at 36 for 3 and smoothly revived the Sri Lanka innings with an 89-run partnership. The end was to come in unfortunate circumstances, though. In the 29th over, Sangakkara punched Mohammad Hafeez behind point and took a few steps down the track. Sensing that his senior partner was on the lookout for a single, Priyanjan responded with a sprint. In no time, he was alongside Sangakkara, who had been watching the ball all along and had stopped as he saw substitute fielder Anwar Ali dive and stop the ball. Sangakkara could have tried to reclaim his ground, but chose to instead make a desperate dash for the non-striker's end, falling well short as the throw came in to Hafeez.
The unconventional's classic
You wouldn't ever call Saeed Ajmal and Sachithra Senanayake classical offspinners, but what the former dished out to the latter first ball was a pure classic. Ajmal had taken out Angelo Mathews with his previous delivery in the 44th over, a typically flat, quick, pitched-up offbreak from round the stumps. His next ball, to Senanayake, was completely different and would have done the recently retired Graeme Swann proud. It was tossed up high, landed full, drew the batsman forward into a defensive push and turned in through the gate to hit the stumps.
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