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Plays of the day from the fifth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi
December 27, 2013
You've been denied pace from one end on a slow pitch. You see a quicker bowler at the other, and try to take some runs off him. You hit him for four over extra cover. Next ball, you cart him high over the wide long-on boundary. If you are an opener, you think that it's enough for one over, there are plenty more to come. But Ahmed Shehzad went for glory off the third ball too, against Suranga Lakmal, and his wild mis-hit only found mid-on in the sixth over.
Sohaib Maqsood was looking in fine touch, having got off the mark with an elegant extra-cover drive for four. First ball of the 17th over, he got a short and wide offering from Lasith Malinga, and slapped it in the air behind backward point. He hadn't timed it too well, but it was still travelling. Tillakaratne Dilshan, all of 37 years, threw himself to his left, got both hands to the ball and came down on the ground with it safely lodged in his palms.
The return to convention
Misbah-ul-Haq was finding it difficult to score at the start of his innings. He turned to the reverse-sweep to release the pressure, but missed a couple of times against Sachithra Senanayake. Undaunted, he tried the stroke once more, against Dilshan this time, and almost got himself out, the ball hitting the glove and falling just short of the wicketkeeper. Realising innovation wasn't working, Misbah turned to the regular sweep next ball, and grinned as it scurried away fine for the first boundary in 56 deliveries.
Having dismissed Kumar Sangakkara in his previous over, Junaid Khan pulled up after the first ball of the 31st. He had a chat with Misbah, who handed the ball to Umar Gul to complete the over as Junaid walked off the field. A fast bowler coming back after a long injury layoff and replacing a sore fast bowler. Should have been cause for concern. It was, for Sri Lanka. Gul bounded in, got the first ball to kick from back of a length and produced an edge from Ashan Priyanjan to the keeper.
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