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Plays of the Day from the fifth ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan
Kanishkaa Balachandran at the Premadasa Stadium
June 18, 2012
Akmal v Malinga
Lasith Malinga's bouncer barrage at Umar Akmal in the fourth ODI had set up the batsman's dismissal and triggered Pakistan's collapse. So, much was anticipated when Akmal took guard for the rematch, but Malinga's first over to him was uneventful. The second one was more action packed. After three dot balls, a short one on the ribs was fended to fine leg. A repeat delivery two balls later was sent to fine leg again, this time with more conviction. In Malinga's next over, a top edge from Akmal cleared the wicketkeeper. Realising the bouncer wasn't the right ploy, Malinga hit back in his next spell with a series of fast yorkers outside off stump that Akmal failed to put away. Still, 21 runs off 23 balls for Akmal was an improvement from the horror of the previous game.
Shortly after knocking down Tillakaratne Dilshan's leg stump with a sharp incoming delivery, Sohail Tanvir produced arguably the delivery of the match. Bowling from over the wicket, he landed the ball on a good length, got it to hold its line, beat Upul Tharanga's drive and sent the off stump cartwheeling almost halfway to the wicketkeeper.
In the field, though, it was a different story for Tanvir. A drive from Kumar Sangakkara should have been stopped at mid-on, but Tanvir was a bit too late with the dive. His worst was yet to come. Fielding at deep cover, Tanvir sprinted to his right to stop the ball at the boundary's edge, but decided to take the easy way out and stuck his boot out instead. The ball bounced off his right boot and deflected off his leg to the boundary. A peeved Misbah-ul-Haq, already at his wits' end thanks to Pakistan's fielding lapses, banished Tanvir to third man, in front of the noisiest section of the crowd.
Redemption for Sarfraz
Tanvir wasn't the only culprit. Sarfraz Ahmed also wanted to look for the nearest place to hide when he dropped Sangakkara on 25. Sangakkara drove at a length ball and got an outside edge that ought to have been taken by Sarfraz. He fluffed the catch, though, and covered his face for a few agonising seconds, fearing the drop would cost Pakistan the game. Sarfraz, however, had a second chance. Sangakkara, on 40, dropped the ball close on the off side and set off for a run. To his horror, he saw the ball spinning back towards the keeper. Sarfraz collected the ball and in one motion broke the stumps before Sangakkara could get back. The batsman cut a desolate figure on one knee.
Lahiru Thirimanne had two close shaves during his innings. When trying to cut Mohammad Hafeez, Thirimanne ended up getting a bottom edge into the pitch and the ball top spun towards the stumps. He tried desperately to block it with his bat but the ball struck the stumps. The bails, however, did not fall. There was a similar incident in the following over as well. Like Sangakkara, Thirimanne dropped the ball on the pitch and tried to steal a single. Sarfraz collected it and flicked the ball back on to the stumps. Once again the bails did not fall, but Thirimanne had made his ground.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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