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Plays of the day from the first ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan
August 23, 2014
Saved by the elbow
Kumar Sangakkara had just arrived at the crease when he drove hard at a wide one from Junaid Khan. He connected well, but hit it uppishly, to the right of Fawad Alam at cover. Alam flew horizontally and grabbed the ball with his right hand, but his - and Pakistan's - joy only lasted the few fractions of a second that elapsed till he landed, the impact of his elbow against the outfield causing the ball to pop out of his grasp.
The short-ball barrage
Dinesh Chandimal came into this match with some form behind him, including two centuries during Sri Lanka A's tour of England. But none of that must have prepared him to deal with the lift and awkward angle of a 7'1" left-arm seamer on a bouncy, slightly two-paced pitch. Mohammad Irfan kept banging it in short, and kept getting it to rear at Chandimal's throat. He tried to fend the ball away initially, squirting it down with an uncomfortable roll of his wrists and only occasionally succeeding, before deciding to take Irfan on. Deep backward square leg took a simple catch, and he must have known the top-edged pull was around the corner.
Priyanjan's fancy footwork
When Ashan Priyanjan walked in, with just over three overs remaining, Sri Lanka might have been looking to accelerate to 250. They ended up with considerably more, and a lot of it had to do with Priyanjan unsettling the Pakistan bowlers with his movement in the crease.
In the penultimate over of the innings, Priyanjan gave himself room and smacked Wahab Riaz down the ground. Then he moved the other way and lap-swept him to the fine leg boundary. In the last over, he treated Junaid to the same one-two treatment. First he backed away towards the leg side to cream him over cover, and next ball he walked across his stumps and clipped him off his hips for a one-bounce four over the leg side.
The boundary-line balancing act
Among the more fascinating aspects of Misbah-ul-Haq's batting are his sudden forays into expansiveness. It's almost as if he decides in the middle of a long stretch of blocks and leg-side nurdles to surprise everyone and launch the ball into the crowd. In this way, he's picked up 71 ODI sixes at a rate better than one every second innings. In the 19th over of Pakistan's innings, Misbah decided he would hit six number 72, and lofted Rangana Herath down the ground. But Chandimal foiled his plans, running back to the boundary, catching the ball just short of the rope, and throwing it behind him just as he was about to totter over the edge.
Sanga's lightning reactions
In the 23rd over of Pakistan's chase, Misbah sank down onto his knees to try and sweep Herath. The bowler read his intentions and bowled it a tad shorter than the batsman might have expected. The ball bounced more than Misbah expected, and popped off his glove to the left of Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps. It was travelling quickly, but Sangakkara moved quicker to ghost sideways and trap the ball between his gloves and his midriff.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Karthik Krishnaswamy
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