Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Hambantota June 3, 2012

A canine intervention, and Dilshan drops one

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second T20 between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Hambantota

The intervention
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.

The redemption
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.

The confusion
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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Syed on June 4, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    @desihugama, Sami did had chances everywhere let alone England. And yes he is deadly and ferocious when accurate, but unfortunately he is usually wayward for at least 1-2 balls every over he bowls, which is enough to ruin his bowling. I say that it is a tragedy that he could not materialize on his potential as he has the pace and hardworking attitude, never got involved in any politics, never had any fitness issues and is a very good athlete otherwise. He would have been every captain's dream. May be that is why he got that many chances. Some doctors have healing touch and some doesn't, similarly some bowlers have the knack of taking wickets all the time and some don't.

  • Jawwad on June 4, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Sami's spell was deadly and as ferocious as you can get in International Cricket. I wonder what wonders he may do on English wickets, poor lad hasn't had a chance to play in England.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    Sami has always been a good bowler.... the only thing he lacks is consistency going for extra yard or so he losses the control and give freebies... if he could work on his consistency and fitness he has 2-3 yrs in front of him...

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    AFRIDI is the real entertainer, he is not playing the IPL but he is the star.

  • Senthil on June 4, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    Afridi! Once again, doing it with bat and ball! I wonder what he could do if he was more consistent! What a threat he would be. And just one six?! Was he controlling himself? This guy is always fun when he is on the field.

  • sabtain on June 4, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    The good thing about Afridi (LALA) is either YOU hate him or YOu love him, you can't ignore him. when he is in the ground, there is a charisma which opposition, crowd, own team and every one else feels, i beleive its a God gifted like Imran Khan or Sachin or very few. Good on him

  • khurram on June 4, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    good win for hafez & pak. they won coz of rare afridi batting & some good bowling. but still many questions to find answers before t20cup. team selection still a problem. ahmed shehzad was never comfortable & so does khalid latif. you cant select players on basis of BPL or other leagues.yes sami & arfat bowled really well yesterday but still sami's place in t20 a question. Malik was solid yesterday but he should be more solid than this. umar should understand hos responsibility in t20 side.still a batting wicket keeper required.& pakistan need to find a batting medium pace allrounder if there is no razak.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Most people don't seem to understand the importance of this series to both teams. It's not about the result of these two matches that matters. Both teams are used this series as a preperation for the T20 world cup. Hence the resting of Mahela/Maliga to allow Kapu and Udana in, playing Sami in both matches, etc.... took place. Good for Paks that Afridi found some rhythm, but too bad for Sri Lanka that Sanga is still playing like sh** and the fielding does not look sharp as it used to be. But I'm sure things will get better by the end of the ODI series!

  • Al on June 4, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Good highlighting of the match in this article. Dilshans spilt catch not only gave the briliant Afridi a respite it also probably cost SL the game. But thats cricket for you! I wonder what the rules are if the dog at 'long dog on' had stoped a slower ball with his body or better still caught a lobbed catch with his mouth? Are there any rules in Wisden which say that the entire eleven in a team have to be human?

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    @a.syed81 If u seriously believe that a performance in one match is enough to win u a seat in the next 10 series, i salute u. Remember the last match. Mohammad Sami may have had potential at one time, but his obsession with pace has proved a major headacge for Pakistan. Just luk at his stats across all formats. If u r still unconvinced, i recommend the PCB call back Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Khalil and all other one-match wonders...

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