Sri Lanka v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Pallekele July 26, 2013

Perera punishes Peterson

Plays of the day from the third ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa

The fireworks
Sri Lanka's innings had progressed at a crawl from the outset, until Thisara Perera got hold of Robin Peterson and sent his figures flying into the night in a 35-run mauling. Perera began by slogging Peterson over cow corner, his bottom hand coming off in the exertion. The second legitimate ball was bludgeoned slightly squarer, but just as far, before Perera went over cow corner again for the next two deliveries, getting the second of those blows into the midst of a jubilant crowd. Peterson tried to dart the next one in, but Perera hit it straight and hard for a one-bounce boundary, before finishing the over with the biggest blow of all, over deep square leg. With a frazzled Peterson having bowled a wide somewhere in the middle, the over was the second-most expensive in ODIs, after Herschelle Gibbs' six sixes against Netherlands.

The drop
Perera had sent serious scares into the South Africa camp by lifting the score above 150 by the 38th over but the visitors may all have breathed a sigh of relief when they saw him miscue a pull off Morne Morkel, the ball lobbing gently towards Lonwabo Tsotsobe at short fine leg. Tsotsobe had little more to do than reach forward and grasp the ball but, stunningly, allowed it to slip through his fingers, keeping the match alive and the crowd exultant, for a few more overs at least.

The close call

With the other two seniors dismissed, Mahela Jayawardene's early demise would have swung the match firmly in South Africa's direction and, were it not for one of cricket's most puzzling quirks, the visitors might have had their man for 21. Jayawardene dragged his back foot forward to defend Peterson's last ball of the 21st over but missed, and Quinton de Kock whipped off the bails triumphantly. When the decision went to the third umpire, Jayawardene seemed to have nothing behind the line on some replays, and was perhaps just home in others. If the convention was to rule in favour of the outcome that had more evidence supporting it, Jayawardene should have been out. But because replays left room for a little doubt, the benefit of which the batsman receives, he was allowed to continue.

The hook
Having helped his side recover from early losses for much of his innings, David Miller only showcased his hitting in the final two overs of South Africa's innings, but it was not one of his four sixes that was his best stroke. He strode out of his crease before Lasith Malinga delivered the first ball of the last over, and seeing the batsman's approach, Malinga dug the ball in short. Miller had almost been expecting this strategy, and was on to the hook in an instant. Getting well on top of the bounce, he struck the ball hard and flat, and although a man had been placed in the deep for just that stroke, he had little hope of preventing four.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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  • g on July 27, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    Totally agree with roook and SurlyCynic. Even while chasing the ball Tsotsobe looks like a player from a different team....definitely not from SA, the team we have seen raising the bar higher and higher all the time... I hope he improves his game on this aspect as well so there is no liability in the field.

  • mark on July 27, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Malinga often forget his bouncers at the death ocers specially when he leaks runs.. even yestrday in the last over when he got maclerance on strike at least he shud hav bowled a one bounce and keep him on strike as much as possible which could have avoided Miller facing many balls and scoring boundaries...unfortunatelty Malinga sometimes with over confidence keep deliveriing yourkrs, full legnth balls just to get smashed into boundaries...I think some has to be theere to tell him and make him do something deifferent.. bcos now often he becomes predictable bolwer, so captain has a roll to play understanding batsmen intension and usiking his bolwer accordingly.

  • Ali on July 27, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Tsotsobe is a poor fielder from south African fielding standards he has all dropped catches in the past he should improve

  • des on July 26, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Tsotsobe bowled well, but his fielding was horrendous as usual. I just don't understand how a professional cricketer can field and catch so poorly, as fielding is something you can improve with hard work.

    The drop was shocking and could have cost SA the game.

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