Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Pallekele March 28, 2013

Umpire target practice

Plays of the Day from the third ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Pallekele
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The shot
Nasir Hossain played some terrific strokes under pressure to bring Bangladesh's chase home late in the evening, but it was Mohammad Ashraful's cover drive in the fifth over that really sounded the alarm for the hosts and signalled Bangladesh's positive intent. Angelo Mathews bowled a length ball, just outside off stump, but despite the lack of room, Ashraful drove the ball powerfully on the up through cover-point for four. The timing was so good that the fielder at cover barely had time to move, despite the ball having passed no more than three feet from him.

The catch
Dinesh Chandimal, who often dons the gloves for his domestic sides, has not always been the safest man in the outfield but held a terrific catch running backwards from point to dismiss the belligerent Anamul Haque. The batsman had advanced and attempted to flay a length ball from Mathews over point but the bat turned in his hand and he sent the ball high over the infield. Three fielders closed in on the ball but, despite being the closest to it, Chandimal had the hardest job keeping the ball in sight, as he was running away from the pitch. He judged it superbly, however, and put in an extra skip at the end to catch up with the ball that was hurtling down and complete the take.

The umpire killers
Both umpires were put in harm's way during Sri Lanka's middle overs, one at square leg, and the other at the bowler's end. Ruchira Palliyaguruge reacted quickly when Tillakaratne Dilshan murdered a pull shot off a Mahmudullah short ball, but still couldn't get out of the way, as the ball hit his boot, denying Sri Lanka at least one run. But it was Nigel Llong who survived the more potentially dangerous stroke. Kumar Sangakkara spotted a half-volley from Abdur Razzak in the 36th over, and smashed it at chest height, straight over the stumps at the bowlers end. Though Razzak was not quick enough to get a hand on it, Llong managed to dart aside - a slower-moving umpire would likely have sustained a nasty bruise had they been in his place.

The repeat
Dilshan did not play the Dilscoop during his hundred but he did attempt two over-the-shoulder scoop shots, the second of which came under extraordinary circumstances. To the first ball of the 44th over, he went down on one knee and attempted to deflect Ziaur Rahman over fine leg but missed the length ball completely and ended up being hit in the box. He rose from his stance and doubled over in pain but, despite having been hit, attempted the same shot again, this time executing it perfectly to pick up a boundary.

The throwback
Like fly slips and leg gullies, batsmen wearing wide-brimmed hats have gone out of style in recent years. Today, though, one of Sri Lanka's more fashion-minded cricketers sported the retro-look at the crease. When Sohag Gazi came on to bowl the eighth over, Dilshan called for the white hat he fields with and used it throughout the innings, when facing spinners. Dilshan has long since done away with his earring and has not recently worn his stripey designer goatee either, and having failed to inspire many imitators with either of those looks, perhaps he is attempting to set a new trend.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Green_and_Gold on March 29, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @krish. Umpires don't need protective clothing. Its very rare that they get hit as they usually have enough time to get out of the way. I would imagine that it would also be uncomfortable standing there for so long with extra gear on. I would think that there is nothing stopping them wearing protection if they really wanted to.I'm baseball the umpires are right in the way of the ball so its more important for them to be protected.

  • on March 29, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    I always wanted to ask this question: why do not cricket umpires wear any protective gear - especially at least a chest guard (like the baseball keepers and umpires), a helmet and an abdominal guard? In modern cricket where there are batsmen like Gayle, Petersen, Dhoni, Dilshan, from whose bat the ball probably travels as fast as any fast bowler who ever bowled in cricket, I think it is only prudent that umpires start wearing guards before some catastrophe strikes.

  • ca2ca on March 28, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Finally the Josephian breakdown !

  • Green_and_Gold on March 29, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @krish. Umpires don't need protective clothing. Its very rare that they get hit as they usually have enough time to get out of the way. I would imagine that it would also be uncomfortable standing there for so long with extra gear on. I would think that there is nothing stopping them wearing protection if they really wanted to.I'm baseball the umpires are right in the way of the ball so its more important for them to be protected.

  • on March 29, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    I always wanted to ask this question: why do not cricket umpires wear any protective gear - especially at least a chest guard (like the baseball keepers and umpires), a helmet and an abdominal guard? In modern cricket where there are batsmen like Gayle, Petersen, Dhoni, Dilshan, from whose bat the ball probably travels as fast as any fast bowler who ever bowled in cricket, I think it is only prudent that umpires start wearing guards before some catastrophe strikes.

  • ca2ca on March 28, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Finally the Josephian breakdown !

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  • ca2ca on March 28, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Finally the Josephian breakdown !

  • on March 29, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    I always wanted to ask this question: why do not cricket umpires wear any protective gear - especially at least a chest guard (like the baseball keepers and umpires), a helmet and an abdominal guard? In modern cricket where there are batsmen like Gayle, Petersen, Dhoni, Dilshan, from whose bat the ball probably travels as fast as any fast bowler who ever bowled in cricket, I think it is only prudent that umpires start wearing guards before some catastrophe strikes.

  • Green_and_Gold on March 29, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @krish. Umpires don't need protective clothing. Its very rare that they get hit as they usually have enough time to get out of the way. I would imagine that it would also be uncomfortable standing there for so long with extra gear on. I would think that there is nothing stopping them wearing protection if they really wanted to.I'm baseball the umpires are right in the way of the ball so its more important for them to be protected.