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Sri Lanka and Pakistan played the second One-Day Inetrnational (ODI) at Hambantota on Tuesday. Rajarshi Majumdar looks back at some of the key moments of the match.
Good conditions: The pitch was a dry one. Bright and sunny conditions welcomed the players. The rain gods showed mercy unlike the rain-truncated first ODI at the same venue. A strong breeze blew across the ground throughout the match.
Tillakaratne Dilshan’s controversial dismissal: It was in the second over of the match that Tillakaratne Dilshan played and missed an away going delivery and Pakistan went up appealing but the on field umpire, Steve Davies turned them down. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq decided to challenge the decision and it was a tough call for the third umpire, S Ravi. He eventually gave Dilshan out but he should have got the benefit of doubt as it was very difficult to decipher whether he edged it or not, that too without the help of the snickometer.
Pakistan pacers take control: Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews won the toss and chose to bat first. But things did not go well for the Lankans. The openers got out rather cheaply and Sangakkara too joined the wagon soon. Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan gave no room whatsoever initially. Riaz picked up two wickets off his first eight balls.
Mahela Jayawardene-Angelo Mathews partnership: Mahela Jayawardene and Mathews did it in the first ODI and they did it again at Hambantota Their 122-run stand helped Sri Lanka rebuild their innings. Mathews came out to bat when the score was 62 for three in the 11th over. Thereafter, these two kept things under control. They also maintained a healthy run-rate throughout their partnership.
Sri Lanka slip: Jaywardene completely missed the line and was cleaned up by Hafeez. After his departure, Ashan Priyanjan and Seekkuge Prasanna too gifted their wickets away. Mathews was losing partners at the other end so he could not take on the Pakistani bowling.
Thisara Perera-Angelo Mathews launched an attack: Thisara Perera settled down before he took on the bowling. Mathews meanwhile had the license to step on the accelerator. They did exactly what they had planned. Unfortunately, Mathews missed out on his maiden ODI ton but Perera smashed a quickfire 65 runs off only 36 balls with four humongous sixes and five boundaries.
Pakistan off to a flier: Although they lost Sharjeel Khan early, it did not make much of a difference to Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad. Hafeez took on Lasith Malinga from the very first ball of his innings. He smashed a quick fire 62 off 49 balls. Shehzad played a supporting role.
Pakistan’s middle-order conundrum: Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq disappointed big time. Misbah could not keep up with the run-rate and Akmal got out rather cheaply. In-form Sohaib Maqsood too could not make an impact unlike his innings in the first ODI. Fawad Alam fought well for his thirty but it was for a lost cause.
Sri Lankan spinners tighten screws: Rangana Herath is someone who can provide a breakthrough at the crucial moment. He did come in handy with his orthodox spinners. Seekkuge Prasanna was an inspirational choice for the Lankans. He too picked up two wickets by giving away only 36 runs in his 10 overs. The spinners helped Sri Lanka to take complete control over the match.
Sri Lanka wrap it up in style: As soon as Shahid Afridi got out, it did not take much time for the Lankan seamers to get back on song. Perera and Malinga ran through the tail-enders pretty quickly.
(Rajarshi Majumdar is a reporter at CricketCountry. He played cricket for all age levels under the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for over 12 years. Apart from cricket he is an avid follower of football, supports Manchester United and a foodie at heart.)
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