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Plays of the Day from the fourth day of he second Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo
Andrew Fidel Fernando and Mohammad Isam
March 19, 2013
The poor stroke
Nasir Hossain had largely batted responsibly in the series, before the final day, but as he and Mushfiqur Rahim - Bangladesh's final recognised batting pair - attempted to lift their side to a defendable total, a moment of indiscretion from Hossain saw his team slip even further. He had only arrived at the crease two overs before, after Rangana Herath had removed overnight batsman Mominul Haque, but spotting a flighted Herath delivery on leg stump, Hossain aimed an ambitious lofted drive, against the turn and across the line. The ball dipped beneath the shot, turned to travel through the gap in between bat and pad, and collected off stump.
Aside from his batting, Mahela Jayawardene has been a terrific slip fielder throughout his career, and his absence has been felt in both matches. On the third evening, Angelo Mathews spilt a chance off Herath, but on day four, it was second slip's turn. Nuwan Kulasekara drew an edge from Sohag Gazi, and even though the ball flew at waist-height, straight to Dimuth Karunaratne, the fielder got himself in a tangle trying to move to the left and couldn't hold on to the chance. Karunaratne moved to short leg for the spinners and grassed a catch there as well, when he let a bat-pad catch off Tillakaratne Dilshan slip through his fingers.
The mark of a quality batsman in form, it is often said, is when he can drive a ball along the ground through mid-on. Though he might be considered a tailender, albeit the more capable kind, it was Gazi who produced two such strokes on the final day. The first, which rolled along the carpet from the time it left the bat was perhaps never going to reach the boundary, given the length of the outfield grass. But the second was a searing drive struck off Shaminda Eranga, which hurtled past the bowler at shin-height, and gave mid-on no chance of running across to cut it off.
As early as the seventh over of Sri Lanka's chase, the Bangladesh defense was crumbling. Jahurul Islam tried an unnecessary throw at the striker's end with Dilshan inside the crease. The batsmen ran for the overthrow and were gifted another when the same throw was picked up by Tamim Iqbal running in from mid-on, and thrown towards the non-striker's end, only to have it ricochet far enough for Dilshan and Karunaratne to pick up another run.
As soon as Lahiru Thirimanne drove powerfully through the covers with Sri Lanka needing just one to win, everyone, including the Bangladesh fielders, thought the game had ended. The batsmen didn't bother running, and the fielders didn't care for chasing after the ball. Non-striker Mathews even moved towards the stumps to uproot one that would serve as a souvenir of his first Test win as captain. Only, the ball had plugged in the slow outfield again, and had come to rest about a foot from the boundary. It took everyone about three seconds to realise this, and the batsmen looked at each other and ambled the final run, while a fielder looked back and trudged after the ball he never ended up collecting.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent and Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondentFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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