Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day July 10, 2012

Pakistan fumbles, Thisara flourishes

Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Pallekele

Save of the day
Keeping wicket to the seamers was never going to be easy on a lively pitch, spiced up further by heavy rain. You have to spare a thought for Taufeeq Umar, standing in for the injured Adnan Akmal. Junaid Khan in particular was getting the ball to talk, testing the experienced Thilan Samaraweera. One such delivery from round the wicket swerved in sharply to the right-hander and a circumspect Samaraweera did the wise thing by not offering a shot. The ball could so easily have evaded Umar, but he managed to fling himself to his left and pluck it one-handed, like his life depended on it. His team-mates in the slips were appreciative of his efforts, patting him on the back.

Close shave of the day
For a period in the morning session, Tharanga Paranavitana was like a walking wicket. One delivery from Umar Gul nipped in and ballooned off the back of his bat and cleared the slips. That was harmless, compared to a snorter he got from Mohammad Sami. Paranavitana tried to sway away from a short delivery but took his eyes off the ball and was hit flush on the peak of the helmet. He didn't flinch, but the shock must have lingered.

Drop of the day
Pakistan went through a fruitless morning session. There was no respite straight after lunch when Samaraweera poked at a Gul delivery and produced a thick outside edge, only to be reprieved. The ball went at a comfortable height to their safest slip fielder, Younis Khan, at second slip. Younis juggled, the ball rebounded to Misbah-ul-Haq at first slip and neither could hang on. Samaraweera was on 49 then, desperate to make amends for an otherwise poor series. The drop cost Pakistan 24 runs.

Shot of the day
Thisara Perera's one-handed six off Umar Gul stood out for its audacity, but the shot that stood out for its style and follow through was his straight-driven four earlier in the over. Bowling with the new ball, Gul fired it full on the stumps and Perera biffed it with such authority that none of the fielders moved. Perera showed a straight bat and maintained his balance well.

Misjudgement of the day
When fielding on the boundary, the timing of the dive and pick up is crucial. When Umar drove Nuwan Kulasekara past point, Rangana Herath gave chase. He did the tough job of getting to the ball, but sensing that it was going to beat him to the boundary, he froze and just stepped over the rope. A little too late, he realised that he overran the ball and could easily have pulled it back. That boundary was one of the few things that went Umar's way.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo