Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Pallekele, 5th day July 12, 2012

Adnan Akmal beats the pain

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

Celebration of the day
Adnan Akmal braved a fractured finger to come in at No.10 to support Asad Shafiq, as Pakistan looked to build their lead inch by inch. Shafiq did his best, at the start, to farm the strike to protect Akmal. Akmal played it safe, choosing to defend with soft hands or simply leave it to the keeper. Akmal had plodded along to 5 off 41 balls before he leaned forward to Nuwan Kulasekara and pierced the gap between the slips and gully to bring up his first boundary. It was not the manner of the boundary that stood out, but the child-like celebration that followed. He smiled and stretched his arms as if he were a No.11 bunny defying all expectations. Asad Shafiq might have been more emotive when he reached his century, but Akmal's reaction was unique.

Redemption of the day
It was ironic that on a fifth-day pitch, not a single wicket had fallen for over a session. The Sri Lanka openers had motored along to 27 at lunch, and they remained positive after the break. Tharanga Paranavitana, who didn't look comfortable around the off stump, then edged Junaid Khan, but Misbah-ul-Haq fluffed a sitter at first slip. With wickets hard to come by on a flat track, it must have been demoralising for Pakistan. However, the pain lingered for barely a minute as Paranavitana obliged with another edge off the very next delivery. This time, it was taken by Younis Khan at second slip. Misbah didn't redeem himself, but Pakistan did.

Audacious shot of the day
Akmal was seen gasping in pain even after regular defensive shots. However, the pain didn't stop him from getting innovative. Akmal's first boundary had given him enough confidence to try something new. Rangana Herath wasn't quite a threat on the fifth day pitch, so Akmal decided to reverse sweep for four, much to the surprise of everyone watching. He repeated the shot off the same bowler shortly after. Akmal had found a way to beat the pain.

Fumble of the day
Akmal's absence behind the stumps placed a lot of demands on stand-in keeper Taufeeq Umar. He would especially have felt the heat during the course of a mix-up between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara had dropped the ball towards point and a communication breakdown followed. Jayawardene, who wasn't sure about the single, had no chance of making it to the other end. The throw was fired in on the bounce to Taufeeq, who fumbled and allowed Jayawardene a life. A peeved Jayawardene looked back at his good friend Sangakkara, and then the two laughed it off.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Siham on July 13, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Well written. Great respect for his brave innings. And his batting in that condition was actually fun to watch!

  • Naveed on July 13, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    asad shafiq's was the right choice for MOM... dont forget his 75 on 1st day..

  • Amjad on July 13, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs: Akmal may have been hurt? This statement is confusing to say the least. If you are doubting his injury then I would think that X ray machines in your country are no good, a far bigger worry than just a match of cricket or whether Akmal was exaggerating it or not. And if he wasn't hurt why would he choose to not keep? Which one is it? A hint of common sense would do you mighty good.

  • Zaki on July 13, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    @ johnathonjosephs: why dont you break your finger and hold a bat for 2 hours. I am sure it is hard even with no fracture. saying someone 'exaggerated' is a bit too hard! Perera got wickets because of poor Pak batting; there was nothing potent about his bowling.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    Akmal was totally exaggerating the pain..he might be in a little bit of pain but not as much as he was playing to the gallery

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs::so u mean shafiq's 75 on greentop of first day was joke???

  • Johnathon on July 12, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Akmal may have been hurt, but i do feel he was exaggerating a lot of times. Poor decision by Mahela. If I was Mahela, after Chandimal got out, I would have sent Perera, Kulasekera, Herath (in that order) and tell them to be aggressive. Since they are bowlers, they have no inhibitions to go for the ball. Also, was surprised that Shafiq got Man of the Match. I would think that Perera's 4 wicket haul and 75 runs in hard conditions trumped Shafiqs 100

  • khurram on July 12, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    congrats to SL for 1st win. Good end to series. Brave decision by misbah. if there was no rain we could have a result. 1st match made the difference. many poor umpiring decisions against pak but major reason was very very very poor batting in 1st inings 1st match. cant hide behind poor umpiring. then pak played better cricket after that 1st inings in 1st match. only bad luck . rain came in 2nd. & in this match they played well its just 1 bad session in SL's 1st inings in which they gave away few chances to para,samara, & parera which build lead.other than that well played. poor fielding is well known problem of pakistan had to work on it. bad luck. sami again showed that his this comeback again failed.

  • No featured comments at the moment.