Friday, November 11, 2011

Pakistan 109/1

Pakistan 109/1 (17 overs)

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Dubai

Regular strikes peg Sri Lanka back

Sri Lanka 131/10 (40.3 ov)
The Report by Nitin Sundar
November 11, 2011
It was a vintage Pakistan display in the first quarter of the first ODI in Dubai. The fast bowlers softened the prey, before the allrounders came on and made incisions. Sri Lanka's top order contributed to their woes with a diffident approach, but the quality and sheer variety of the bowling attack cut off all escape routes, leaving Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews confronted with a big repair job.
 Shahid Afridi is back
The strip had something in it for every kind of quick - Umar Gul's seam, Aizaz Cheema's swing and Abdul Razzaq's legcutters - and the Pakistan trio exploited it right from the get-go. Gul lay down the marker in the first over of the game, with a big swinging wide down the leg side, and an away seamer that bounced explosively past Tillakaratne Dilshan's attempted slash. Dilshan perfected the shot in the next over, welcoming Aizaz Cheema with a pick-up through the covers, but perished four balls later when Cheema got one to buzz in sharply onto the stumps off the inside edge.
Despite coming into the series in sublime form, Kumar Sangakkara could barely lay bat on ball as Cheema and Gul probed away with the two new balls. Upul Tharanga also remained subdued, as Cheema steadily bent deliveries across the left-handers from wide of the stumps. A rare couple of boundaries suggested a release, but they were promptly followed by a string of 19 successive dots.
The returning Razzaq put Sangakkara out of his misery in his first over, coaxing an outside edge with a ball that angled across. Mohammad Hafeez then settled into a typically asphyxiating rhythm, mixing up arm balls with darts that straightened. Dinesh Chandimal sparkled briefly, providing Sri Lanka with a welcome spurt of adrenaline. He launched Razzaq over long-on for six, before scything him through cover for four. The aggression wore off on Tharanga, who had pottered around to 21 off 52 balls before slicing Hafeez for a boundary over the off side. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, he perished three balls later, hoicking rashly to mid-on.
Shahid Afridi then came on, his appetite for the limelight undiminished by his brief retirement. He tossed up four balls, the fourth of which Chandimal clattered over long-on for six. Afridi removed him with the next ball - the patent quicker one catching the batsman on the crease, followed by the trademark arms-aloft celebration. The most revealing moment of the innings came in Afridi's fourth over. He rapped Jayawardene on the pads, and had his vociferous appeal turned down. When he was captain, Afridi would have signaled the referral immediately, almost as an extension of the appeal. This time, he turned to Misbah-ul-Haq in the covers, nodding his head vigorously to convince him, before asking for a review that went in the batsman's favour. Misbah was the man in charge, but once again, Afridi was calling the shots.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Posted by 
M Usman Arshad

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