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Feature

Gunaratne's seam-up variation, Panyangara's errant front foot

Plays of the day from the first match of the Zimbabwe tri-series, between the hosts and Sri Lanka

Sikandar Raza celebrates a tumbling catch, Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe tri-series 2016-17, Harare, November 14, 2016

Sikandar Raza took an excellent catch on the leg-side boundary to send back Kusal Perera  •  Associated Press

The seam-up variation
Asela Gunaratne is nominally a medium-pacer, but showed he's an unusual member of the species on his ODI debut. He ran in like a medium-pacer, went through his delivery stride like a medium-pacer, but gripped the ball and released it like an offspinner. Having taken two wickets with his offcutter, he was now bowling to Zimbabwe's No. 11, Tinashe Panyangara, who had slogged him with the turn for a boundary through midwicket in his previous over. Now came the change-up. Ordinarily, medium-pacers bowl their stock ball with the seam upright, and use the cutters as a variation. Gunaratne flipped it around. Out came a seam-up ball, swinging away just a hint. Like R Ashwin's arm ball, but quicker. Panyangara slogged across the line again, but this time only managed a top-edge that ballooned to the fielder at cover.
The no-ball
Zimbabwe were only defending 154, and Panyangara, coming back to the side after a spell out injured, bowled a beauty first up with the new ball. It pitched just back of a length, and curved away from close to off stump, leaving Dhananjaya de Silva feeling uncertainly for the ball and nicking to the keeper. It was the perfect start. Almost. Zimbabwe's players aborted their celebrations almost as soon as they began them, seeing the umpire's arm shoot out to his side, signaling no-ball. Panyangara had overstepped. De Silva went on to make an unbeaten 78.
The grab
Zimbabwe's new-ball bowlers had begun erratically, dropping the ball far too short, far too often, and Kusal Perera and de Silva had pulled Donald Tiripano and Panyangara for three fours in the space of five balls spread across the eighth and ninth overs of Sri Lanka's innings. Chamu Chibhabha came on to bowl the 11th over, and dropped short with just his second ball. Perera's eyes lit up, and he swiveled through another pull. This time, though, he sliced underneath it a little, and though he had middled it, he had hit it in the air. It still left the man at deep square leg a fair amount of yardage to cover, but Zimbabwe had their best fielder there, Sikandar Raza. He sprinted quickly to his left, and completed the catch with an athletic tumble.
Drop, deflect, overthrow
In the 13th over of Zimbabwe's innings, Chamu Chibhabha spotted de Silva stepping out of his crease and shifted his line wide of off stump. De Silva went for a flat-bat drive, met it well, but hit it straight back at the bowler, a foot or so to his left. Chibhabha reached out, got his palms to the ball, but couldn't hold on to the catch, ending up deflecting the ball towards the man at short extra-cover instead. Graeme Cremer picked up the ball, saw de Silva moving back towards his crease, and fired a throw at the stumps. He missed, and ended up conceding two overthrows.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo