Catches win matches maybe that’s an old cliché, but that is what exactly what happed at the 4th ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. A match that was seemingly going Pakistan’s way was brought to a halt and changed rails after Nuwan Kulasekera held on a brilliant catch to dismiss the Pakistan skipper for 57 while the visitors were cruising along at 166 for 3. Sri Lanka finished the game winning by 44 runs.
|Kumar Sangakkara made a brilliant 97.|
The sudden jolt throttled the Green clad lads and then the Pallekelle hero Thisara Perera joined the party to claim his first ODI hat-trick and also a run out in that over to turn the game on its head. Top scorer Azar Ali who missed a ton in the second ODI at Pallekelle was left stranded not out at one end for 81.
Earlier the Lankan ministry of seniors which comprises skipper Mahela Jayewardene and Kumar Sangakkara used their years at the crease and associated themselves in a grand stand of 110 runs for the 4th wicket to see Sri Lanka to a fighting 243 for 8. At the middle Sangakkara may have learned about the ‘Bradby’ win. He who started the inning in a cloud of uncertainty transformed his inning to an aura of authority once in. Initially he was slow and circumspect, but during the latter part of the innings he gave little respect to the known tenacity of the Pakistani attack.
He may have missed his well deserved ‘ton’ by a whisker of just three runs but innings which contained three sixes and seven fours in 130 balls gave notice to the opposition that he is back in contention.
At the other end skipper Mahela Jayewardene was adventurous and made a flurry of stylish but risky strokes which would have made a conventional coach lose his temper. Yet it is a part of modern day cricket.
It was Pakistan’s inform batsman Azar Ali who initially dug in and made way to his skipper Misbah to consolidate the innings. The batsmen took measure of the slow Premadasa wicket and batted accordingly. There were no top gear attacking stuff, but both batsmen batted with authority till they completed their fifties. However their 130 run stand came to an end when Kulasekera held on to a brilliant catch at mid-off during the batting power play off Malinga for 57.
The Lankan bowlers on their path were up and down and never gave the indication that they would spring back once the Pakistani 3rd wicket pair took control of the situation. Though the much talked about Sajeewa Weerakone made his real debut in bowling yesterday, failed impress in spite of bagging the Pakistani second wicket and finished with 1 for 49.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket that was slow and gave the batsmen something to be aware of.
Source: News By S.R. Pathiravithana | Sunday Times