Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Abu Dhabi December 25, 2013

Gul's set-up, and Priyanjan's start

Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi

The setup
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.

The start
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.

The mix-up
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.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    ideally 100% correct. lets see what they will do. Chances are very slim though. Election is always questionable in pakistan. They always have couple of players who doesn't justify their place or dont get any chance. but selected in almost each series.

  • Faizan on December 26, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @Khurram S Chaudhry: I agree that the media and fans were critical of the playing 11 in the last ODI in SA but we all know that most of the people in media just criticize for the sake of it and most of our fans are emotional who still want to see the likes of Imran Nazir (who hardly performs) and Abdul Razzaq (who is well past his prime). Secondly, I believe that Rehman and Shafiq were not picked in the ODI squad just to carry drinks around. The team management must have thought that these players would get a chance when the time is right. Now is the right time to induct all those players in the squad who haven't gotten a chance. Because if Pakistan goes with just 1 or 2 changes and persists with experience and if it then loses the last match then it would be more bad. If it goes with youngsters then even if they lose then it can be labeled as "loss due to lack of experience in the team". It is about making bold decisions and not about appeasing the media or most of the emotional fans

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    @cricket_man: even if no record or anything, i dont think they will rest all the seniors like you have mentioned. They will surely want to give hafeez more confidence and misbah will be playing. Only 2 guys should get a chance and those are Haris and Anwar. I dont think many will agree with Asad and rehman in playing 11. they both are not odi material.

    the thing you are mentioning is right and good to send very much young team on tours like ZIM etc. And theoretically i agree with you on that. but we have not done that. And sent full team to ZIM last time.

    For this ODI, i dont think they will be making whole lot of changes. for 3rd odi vs SA they made 4 changes and remember the criticism they got from ex players and fans for that. they will want to win it with just 2-3 changes.

  • Faizan on December 26, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    @Khurram S Chaudhry, Although I agree with most of your comments but not this one. Pakistani team should not be about personal records and milestones of individual players. Are personal records more important than securing the future of your team by playing all the people waiting in line to get a chance? I would definitely opt for the latter. It is not about Hafeez, Misbah or Afridi, it is about the Pakistani cricket team and what is best for it. Dhoni could have easily made many records with the talent he has but he still makes room for all the players in his team waiting for a chance either by letting them play in a match when the series is already decided or by sending a team full of youngsters on a tour to a weak cricketing country like Zimbabwe. I would play this team: 1) Sharjeel 2) Shahzad 3) Shafiq 4) Maqsood 5) Sohail 6) U. Akmal 7) Bhatti 8) Anwar Ali 9) Rehman 10) Ajmal 11) Junaid. Why can't we be bold and play the above mentioned team when we have already bagged the series?

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    i think Hafeez and misbah should play. Both are on verge of getting a record for pakistan. Hafeez can still claim top scorers spot of the year. Misbah is 60 runs away from claiming most runs since 2007 in an year. Both should be playing.

    Haris and Anwar should get a chance for Afridi/Bhatti or may be 1 of Ahmed/Maqsood can be rested. Both have already cemented their place. sharjeel should get 1 more game and that will be full series for him and so far apart from 1 game, he has nothing to show.

    I dont think Asad, Rehman will make much difference.

  • Muhammad farooq on December 26, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Well, I m really sorry to see such comments by my fellow country men. The writer did not made any comparison between Ajmal and Swann, r u guys so dumb that u can not understand what actually he meant here? Ajmal got that Senanyke guy with a conventional Off Break, which is usually not his main weapon, his main is Doosra, we all know that, on the other hand Swann was more of a offie, he didnt bowl doosra at all, so guys plz, Swann was a wonderful bowler, and a gentleman. So plz he is retired now give him some respect.

  • Zain on December 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Well played Pakistan!!!. I'm especially happy for Hafeez who showed great charachter, sprinkled with a liberal dose of panache & style, in notching up these three centuries.

    Sadly however my cricketing intelligence / understanding, bars me from saying anything more than this. At 135 kph/ (or below) on flat Asian wickets, against Asian attacks, Hafeez will murder you with his eyes closed. Reving up the pace against premier fast bowlers ...................Now that's an altogether different story!!.

  • Faizan on December 26, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Good win for Pakistan and a good find for Sri Lanka in the form of Priyanjan, Sri Lanka please get rid of Chandimal and if possible Matthews too or at least send Matthews up in the batting order as he is neither utilized as proper batsman nor as a proper bowler. As far as the Pakistani team is considered, I would like to see all the players (except Tanvir) warming the benches to play the next match. My Pakistani team for the next match is : 1) Sharjeel 2) Shahzad 3) Shafiq 4) Maqsood 5) Sohail 6) U. Akmal 7) Bhatti 8) Anwar Ali 9) Rehman 10) Ajmal 11) Junaid. I just wish the Pakistani management takes a bold step and plays the above mentioned players. All the guys not getting the chance would play. Hafeez and Misbah should rest and make room for youngsters, Gul should rest as part of his rehabilitation process and Afridi himself has opted out of the final one-day. Ajmal should be the captain and Shahzad his deputy.

  • Faiq on December 26, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Honestly I dont see even a single comparison made between ajmal and greame swann.The writer was just trying to illustrate the class of delivery and nothing else so stop complaining.

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Gramme Swann in all three formats has lesser average, strike-rate and economy rate only apart from T20i where Swann's average is a tough above Ajmal, but the wicket tally is in Ajmal's favour there too. Abhishek, Pakistan won the game and we would have really enjoyed reading about moments Pakistani players like Maqsood not reaching his 50-run landmark, Shahzad's dismissal, the hat-trick ball. Hafeez hitting Malinga for a six by an excellent pull shot and a four in a similar fashion. You seem to have left out quite some detail while writing this piece.

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