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Plays of the day from the fourth day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at P Sara Oval
Andrew Fernando at the P Sara Oval
November 28, 2012
Martin Guptill took a stellar diving catch at second slip to dismiss Angelo Mathews on the third day, but Kane Williamson's take at gully the next day was better. Trent Boult was moving the ball away from Rangana Herath, and when the batsman pushed at one and got an edge, the ball seemed to be flying high over Williamson. In a flash Williamson was in the air, legs akimbo and left arm outstretched, and he clung on to the ball like he would a handrail on a maglev train.
The missed dismissal
Late in the second session, Sri Lanka could have had Todd Astle out for 27 had anyone bothered to appeal for a run-out chance at the wicketkeeper's end. Astle pushed Suraj Randiv towards cover and took off quickly for a single before being sent back by Ross Taylor, who had seen the incoming fielder. Astle turned and dived to make his ground, and although he seemed to have got his bat over the line comfortably before the stumps were broken, the dive had caused his bat to bounce, and it was still in the air when Prasanna Jayawardene removed the bails. Jayawardene hadn't seen the bat lift off the ground, however, and curtailed his appeal to a yelp. As a result, umpire Nigel Llong didn't bother referring it.
Astle experienced cricket's "great levelling" powers soon after, when his good fortune from earlier was negated by a stroke of bad luck. He swept Randiv hard and low, but before the ball could touch the ground, it hit the heel of Dinesh Chandimal's shoe at short leg and looped in the air. Tillakaratne Dilshan jogged in from short midwicket to swallow the rebound, and though Astle had played the stroke almost perfectly, he was heading back to the dressing room after a few replays.
Eight times in this match balls have begun to lose their shape inside twenty overs and umpires have had to call for replacements. The routine culminated on the fourth morning, when the ball had to be replaced inside 90 minutes three times. New Zealand had already swapped their ball after two overs with the second new ball the previous evening, and soon after start of play on the fourth day, they asked for another ball change. The visitors managed to induce movement with that ball and bowled Sri Lanka out, but before 15 overs of New Zealand's second innings, the ball had already been changed twice.
The practice of walking when a batsman knows he is out is considered a sign of good sportsmanship, but Jeetan Patel went a step further. He began walking off before he had even been fully dismissed. Patel ran down the pitch to Randiv, but couldn't get bat to ball, and simply continued on his way to the pavilion without looking back to see if the wicketkeeper had collected the ball cleanly. He had, and Prasanna Jayawardene removed the bails several seconds after the batsman had begun to tread off. Patel might hope the ICC's Spirit of Cricket award committee was watching.
The relationship between captain and strike bowler is often of crucial importance to a Test team, but Taylor did not seem to have much love for Tim Southee when he ran his captain out for 74. Taylor hit Rangana Herath down the ground and called for two immediately, and did not see a reason to change the plan as he turned for the second. Halfway through his run back to the striker's end however, Southee sent him back, leaving Herath to complete an easy run-out at the bowler's end. Taylor shot Southee a dirty look and was furious on his way off the field.
The disagreeable equipment
It is a rare series in which Kumar Sangakkara fails to pass fifty, but his own padding conspired to dismiss him in the second innings, leaving him with only 21 runs in three innings this series. Doug Bracewell's delivery would have travelled down the leg side if Sangakkara had not touched it, but the ball clipped the underside of his thigh pad and deflected back onto the stumps.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondentFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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