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Plays of the day from the first ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Hambantota
Andrew Fidel Fernando in Hambantota
March 23, 2013
The insect invasion
Long before generator outages played havoc in Hambantota, a swarm of bees brought about the first disruption of play, when they invaded the northeast pocket of the ground near third man. The spectators in the area seemed unconcerned, as they danced on to the papare beat, but the players would have none of it. Most of the fielders on the offside fled their half of the field and dove to the turf on the legside until the insects had moved off and the "all safe" signal was given.
The inert policemen
When Nasir Hossain hit a slower ball from Nuwan Kulasekara to the midwicket fence in the 46th over, the ball sped straight towards three policemen, who were standing about a foot behind an opening in the drain that encircles the ground. All one of them needed to do was step forward and kick the ball away from the hole but, despite having watched the ball all the way off the bat, none of them budged an inch, and allowed the ball to fall in. They didn't move a muscle to retrieve the ball either, and a groundsman ran around from the square-leg fence to climb down and return the ball, which was apparently undamaged.
The dolly drop
Angelo Mathews has caught some stunning balls in his time, but in the past few months has been plagued by a severe case of the dropsies. He was not in fine catching form during the tour of Australia and shelled a couple at slip in the recent Tests. None, however, would have been as embarrassing as the chance he fluffed off Tamim Iqbal in the 23rd over. Tamim charged Thisara Perera and attempted to hit him over extra cover, but mistimed the stroke and sent it into the air in the direction of mid-off, where Mathews moved underneath it. The ball came to him in a gentle decline, but he took his eyes off it and the ball slipped through his fingers. Tamim was on 54 then, and went on to make 112.
Despite the salvo that saw Sri Lanka's openers blitz 100 runs in 10.4 overs, Sri Lanka may not have had a single six in their innings without a little help from a fielder in the seventh over. Kushal Perera slog-swept a quicker one from Sohag Gazi, and although he managed to get plenty of power into the shot, he could not quite get the elevation he might have hoped for. Abdur Razzak, waiting about eight metres from the fence between deep-midwicket and long-on, should have caught Perera above his head, but he failed to deal with the speed of the ball and ended up parrying it over the boundary rope, when it might have fallen just short.
Kushal Perera made plain his gifts as a wicketkeeper in his time behind the stumps during the Australia tour but, given that he rarely plays as a specialist batsman for his club, he would not have had a chance to take many catches diving forward. An opportunity came his way during the Bangladesh inning, when Mohammad Ashraful mistimed a drive and chipped Nuwan Kulasekara in the air. Perera sped forward and leapt full-stretch to grab the ball just before it hit the ground.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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