A canine intervention, and Dilshan drops one
For four balls in the Pakistan innings, Sri Lanka unexpectedly had an additional 'fielder' stationed in an undefined position in the outfield. He wasn't dressed in blue, though. It's amazing how dogs dodge the tightest of security cordons, in this case the army. After the second ball of the seventh over, a dog gave the sponsors some free mileage by running circles around the signage behind the bowler. Play was held up for a few seconds but the creature failed to get the hint. Isuru Udana walked back to his mark while the dog took position somewhere between long-on and deep midwicket. However, the batsmen didn't oblige by hitting it in that direction, or else it would have given the umpires an unnecessary headache.
Sri Lanka didn't drop many in the first game, but tonight their reflexes weren't as sharp. In the 19th over, Shahid Afridi failed to control a pull and the ball dipped to deep midwicket where Tillakaratne Dilshan got behind the ball and spilled a straightforward chance. Dilshan didn't have to wait too long for a second chance. The next ball, Shoaib Malik (the batsmen had crossed) obliged by tonking the ball in the same direction, but Dilshan wasn't going to fluff it a second time. His reaction, though, was the bigger story. Clearly peeved with himself for the drop, he flung the ball on the turf and didn't bother to join the celebrations.
It brought back memories of the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia where Kris Srikkanth let off Lance Cairns twice before taking the third attempt. On that occasion, Srikkanth took the catch and walked towards his captain like a trembling student approaching the headmaster's office.
The redemption part 2
The bowler who ran in with much verve was Mohammad Sami. He got the batsmen weaving and swishing and missing on many occasions with sheer pace. Not all of it was on target though. With Sri Lanka needing 38 off 21, Sami's attempted yorker swung its way to fine leg. He kicked the turf after giving away five wides, but he more than made up for that lapse with his following delivery. It landed on target, beat Thisara Perera for pace and shattered the stumps. Two wickets in the over for six runs - not a bad over in the final analysis.
One of the worst insults to a bowler is being denied a wicket after hitting the stumps. In the final ball of the Pakistan innings, Afridi tried to paddle the ball away down the leg side but missed. It wasn't called a wide, though, because the ball brushed the leg stump but failed to dislodge the bail. Not surprisingly, there was confusion in the air. Kulasekara was denied a wicket, while Afridi's career average got a slight boost by virtue of being not out.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo