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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the opening day in Colombo
Andrew Fidel Fernando and Mohammad Isam at the Presmadasa
March 16, 2013
Dot ball of the day
The fifth ball of the day was guided down to third man by Jahurul Islam for what looked like a regulation boundary. The slip fielders didn't go chasing after it, the umpire signalled a boundary and the batsmen too didn't bother running. Only problem was, the ball hadn't reached the boundary. A thick layer of grass around the boundary held the ball back, which prompted umpire Nigel Llong to change his decision, and the batsman looked perplexed at losing four runs. It then took Jahurul 20 balls to get off the mark.
Boundary of the day
That fifth ball of the game was a precursor to the batsmen's struggles to reach the boundary. Overnight rain had considerably slowed down the outfield, cutting out plenty of drives, glides and edges that would have reached the rope on another day. It eventually came in the 18th over, a full 79 minutes after play started when Mohammad Ashraful slid one past point for a four.
Wide of the day
Shaminda Eranga has improved his control since first arriving in Test cricket, but his wide in the 20th over of the morning would have drawn a cringe from Steve Harmison. Eranga held on to the ball too long in his delivery stride and pitched it barely three metres in front of him. He had aimed the ball poorly too, and it bounced away from the cut strip and towards first slip, where it was intercepted by the bemused wicketkeeper.
Let-down of the day
Ashraful seemed a transformed man in his two innings in Galle, both of which were surprising for the care and responsibility he showed at the crease. In his first innings at the Premadasa, he seemed intent on showing his circumspect new avatar was not a one-match wonder, when he had painstakingly gathered 16 from 47 balls, and set himself for another long innings. But those plans were undone when he was run out attempting a quick single for his partner. Jahurul tapped one towards Eranga at mid-on and called Ashraful through, but the fielder swooped in and threw down the stumps to find Ashraful short.
Catch of the day
Sri Lanka's slip cordon is far poorer for Mahela Jayawardene's absence, but fielding in the same position as his former captain, Angelo Mathews pulled off the take of the day - albeit in somewhat unconventional fashion. Rangana Herath fired one wide of Mahmudullah's off stump, and the resultant edge thudded into wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal's pads and looped square of the crease on the offside. In a second Mathews was after it, and thought the ball did not hang in the air for long, he put in a full-length dive and completed a difficult take low to the ground.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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