4th Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 13 Apr 2001|
Sri Lanka innings:
Losing seven of their top batsmen for 171, there was little hope left for Sri Lanka in the match. Yet the tail, led by Chaminda Vaas, had no intention really of easily giving up. The left-handed hard-hitter added a valuable 34 for the 8th wicket with his look-alike Zoysa in just about 7 overs, bringing up the 200 of the innings by the 41st over.
These two seemed to be having no trouble at all against the spinners, playing shots to virtually every part of the ground. They might have gone further ahead, had Younis Khan, fielding at covers, not brought about a magnificent run out to get rid of Zoysa.
The lanky left-hander tapped the ball gently into the off and went for a quick single. A perfectly agile Younis dived at the ball and threw it underarm to dislodge the bails with the batsman just short of his crease.
The dismissal of Zoysa brought Muralitharan at the crease, and after having a bit shaky start, the off spinner looked for singles in a bid to give most of the strike to Vaas.
Chaminda amply made use of these opportunities to club an odd delivery to the boundary. He got to his first ODI fifty in the last over, off 58 balls (3 fours), but not before being a part of quite a bit of drama.
Sitting on 48, he drove the 4th ball from Saqlain to long off and went for the second run. There was a run out appeal as Vaas dived to find his crease at the striker’s end. Some anxious moments followed, before the third umpire ruled him not out bringing about a lot of cheers in the Sri Lankan stands
Sri Lanka innings finished at 250 for 8 in 50 overs, with Vaas and Muralitharan remaining not out on respective scores of 50 (59 balls, 3 fours) and 13 (28 balls).
They now have three days’ rest before meeting New Zealand in the last league match on Wednesday, April 17. But before that, there is a match between Pakistan and New Zealand on Sunday.
However, the rot started much earlier as Jawardene lost concentration after scoring a fine 31 (35 balls, 2 fours). Along with Atapattu, he added fifty for the third wicket in 58 balls. The 100 for Sri Lanka came in the 17th over, but Jayawardene didn’t stay too long after that.
Trying to cut a wide one from Yasir, he only managed to offer an easy catch for wicket keeper Humayun Farhat. The century-maker against New Zealand could make 31 this time round, hitting 2 boundaries in his 35-ball innings.
As Russel Arnold joined Atapattu at the crease, an interesting battle between bat and ball ensued, with the left-hander finding gaps for his one’s and two’s. Atapattu, on the other hand, relied more on his shoulder power to find runs, taking in the process 10 off Yasir’s 7th over.
These two added 36 for the fourth wicket in quick time before Arnold became the first victim of a dubious umpiring decision. Going for a cut off Afridi’s second delivery, he missed the ball completely, yet to find Doug Cowie acknowledging the bowler’s appeal. He went shaking his head, having made 19 in 25 balls, with the help of 2 boundaries.
Afridi struck again in the next over, and there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to the validity of the dismissal. The composed-looking Atapattu had played quite nicely before mistiming a drive off Afridi back into the hands of the bowler. The Sri Lankan vice-captain made 36 off 49 and hit 2 fours during his innings.
Kumar Dharmasena had but a brief stay at the crease. He was given out caught behind, another questionable decision by the umpire at the other end, off the bowling of Shoaib Malik. He made 5 off 10 balls.
Sri Lanka got a much-needed break after that as Afridi bowled some wayward deliveries in his third over, allowing the batsmen two fours to reach 163 by the 30th over.
Sri Lankan batsmen face a tough battle ahead, with De Saram the only recognized batsman left in their batting line up. Yet they must be satisfied with their scoring rate, which is still hovering around 5.5 despite the fall of some quick wickets.
Afridi has so far had a very good tour. Having earlier failed to deliver with the bat, the young all-rounder has once again given Pakistan vital breakthroughs. He has so far taken two wickets for 13. Shoaib Malik has also made good use of his off breaks, taking one for 7 in two overs.
Adopting an aggressive approach right from the start, Kaluwitharana hit a lovely boundary off Waqar, as 7 runs came off the first over of the innings. Jayasuriya had some shaky moments against the debutante Kashif Raza, before slicing him over extra cover for the first six of the innings. That particular over from Raza yielded 9 runs, including two leg-side wides.
Kashif pulled things back in his second over, only to be punished with two fours, both by Kaluwitharana, in the third, letting Sri Lanka race to 40 by the 6th over.
The next over, bowled by Waqar, produced the first breakthrough for Pakistan. After conceding two consecutive boundaries from his rival captain on the 4th and the 5th ball, the speedster retaliated with a perfect in-swinger that clipped the top of Jayasuriya’s middle stump. The Sri Lankan skipper gathered 20 off 23 ball and hit two boundaries and a six.
Kaluwitharana departed only three balls later, as he became young Raza’s first ODI victim. The Sri Lankan stumper made 25 (23 balls) with the help of 4 fours, before playing the ball on to his stumps.
Jayawardene, replacing Kaluwitharana, got off the mark of Raza’s last ball, also bringing up the fifty of the innings in 8 overs. The fall of two quick wickets understandably put breaks on Sri Lankan scoring as Atapattu and Jayawardene took some time to get used to the conditions.
However, they were soon out of the groove, getting singles and doubles and an occasional boundary in between, not allowing the scoring rate to fall too much down. Atapattu hit his first boundary in the 10th over, as he drove Raza past Waqar at mid off. He got another boundary in the next over, bowled by Yasir Arafat.
The same over saw Jayawardene pulling the ball to deep mid wicket, only to find Afridi running around to stop the ball just on the rope. However, the fielder went down on his back soon after throwing back the ball, visibly in a lot of pain after it seemed he had sprained his knee. He was helped off the ground soon after that.
Sri Lankan batsmen, meanwhile, continued with their search for runs, finding boundaries off some loose bowling, especially from Yasir Arafat.
Having reached 90 after 15 overs, with Jawardene and Atapattu sitting pretty at 22 (26) and 16 (20), Sri Lanka seem well set to give Pakistan a tough fight in the match.
Pakistan certainly missed the services of an experienced pinch hitter like Razzaq to accelerate the scoring rate at the fag end of the innings. However, the lack of boundaries was somewhat made for by some excellent running between wickets, especially by Younis Khan and Humayun Farhat.
Earlier, Pakistan was well on its way towards an even bigger target when Saeed Anwar was unluckily given out lbw off a Vaas delivery that seemed to be drifting down the leg side. He missed another century by 12 runs after scoring 90 and 80*, respectively, in the first two matches. His hit 9 boundaries in a highly skillful knock before being out at the total of 190.
Inzamam, apparently unperturbed by his partner’s dismissal carried on the good work for some while. He brought up the 200 of the innings in the 39th over and then put Muralitharan away for his second six at the start of the 40th over. He, however, did not last long after that.
Trying to work the off spinner away to mid wicket, he offered a difficult chance for Jayasuriya and the skipper made absolutely no mistake in grabbing the ball. The Pakistani vice-captain made 87 off 111 balls and hit 7 fours and 2 sixes. During this innings, Inzamam followed Saeed Anwar in reaching 2000 runs in 46 appearances at Sharjah.
Younis Khan and Imran Farhat added 36 for the sixth wicket in quickish time, after losing Shoaib Malik for naught. Farhat was run out in the 44th over, bowled by Fernando, after hitting a six off Muralitharan.
Younis Khan got 29 (37 balls, 2 fours) after being dropped earlier in his innings by De Saram. However, the fielder made no mistake when Younis gave him a second opportunity.
The Pakistani captain found a couple of boundaries in the end before being run out in the last over. He made 14 off 9 balls. The last five deliveries were played by the debutante Kashif Raza and Saqlain and they did well to take the score past 275 by the end of the innings.
Fernando was the most successful bowler for Sri Lanka with three wickets for 52. Muralitharan took one for 57 in his ten overs. Vaas and Zoysa also bagged one wicket each for 47 (9 overs) and 45 (8 overs), respectively.
The Sri Lankan attack, led by the spin wizard Muralitharan has been made to look quite ordinary with the two master batsmen showing utter class.
Saeed reached his 45-ball fifty, 38th in ODIs, in majestic style, hitting Fernando for a boundary followed by a three to extra cover. He helped himself with 7 boundaries in all to reach this feat.
Before reaching that landmark, he achieved the distinction of becoming the only batsman to score 2000 runs in Sharjah. The left-handed maestro has featured in 47 matches on this particular ground, and scoring his runs at an admirable average of 46.58.
Pakistan reached the 100 of the innings in the next over (20th) of Muralitharan, as Saeed placed the ball to leg for a scrambled single. The 100 for the third wicket partnership came in the 25th over off 127 balls, with Pakistan standing on 125 for 2 by the end of this over after Inzamam drove Jayasuriya down the ground for four.
The big man followed this up by six off the Dharamasena’s first over. The ball was a bit short and Inzamam put it away ferociously over mid wicket fence. Saeed also got into the act by hitting the fourth ball of the over for a boundary to long leg. The hapless bowler got a reception of 11 runs in his first over.
The Pakistani vice-captain completed his 58th ODI fifty in the next over, as he worked the Sri Lankan skipper to extra cover for a single. His feat contained five boundaries and one six.
At the 30-over stage Saeed has reached 74 (78 balls 8x4), whereas Inzamam is batting on 58 (84 balls 5x4 1x6), while Pakistan heading towards yet another big score in this tournament.
Pakistan persisted with their opening pair of Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi after their century-plus partnership in the winning campaign against New Zealand only yesterday.
Fresh from his hurricane knock of 70 in the last match, Afridi showed aggression right from the off set, hitting two boundaries in Vaas’s third over, until disaster struck in the next, bowled by Zoysa.
First to go was Imran Nazir, caught by Russel Arnold who was specially deployed at mid wicket for a mistimed pull. Imran, apparently in not the best of forms, managed just two off 15 balls.
The very next ball saw Saeed Anwar nudging the ball off his hips to short fine leg. The batsmen completed the first run comfortably. However, Saeed went for the second, causing nothing but a terrible mix up, which ended with Afridi sacrificing his wicket for an attacking 13 off 8 balls.
The fall of these two wickets brought the most experienced batting duo at the crease. However, with Sri Lankan pace attack bowling at a tight line and length, runs did come as easily from their bats as they must have wanted.
The Sri Lankans also showed excellent agility in the field, with Muralitharan leading the way with some good saves, apart from bringing about that Afridi run out. That was one the factor why Pakistan’s scoring rate fell so markedly by the 10th over, 3.6 to be exact.
However, Saeed soon came into his own, displaying his class by hitting two consecutive boundaries in Vaas 6th over, taking his personal score into the twenties. He hit another boundary, a sweetly timed straight drive, followed by a two to mid wicket to bring up the Pakistan’s 50 in 11.3 overs.
Inzamam was not to be left far behind. After starting off a bit shakily, the burly man got into his groove, as he glanced Zoysa to long leg for his third four.
After 15 overs, Pakistan have reached 77 for 2, with Inzamam on 22 (41 balls, 4 fours) and Saeed, having played some breathtaking shots to all parts of the ground, unbeaten on 34 off 31 balls with 5 boundaries.
Yasir Arafat, the all-rounder from Rawalpindi, replaces Razzaq whereas Sami makes way for speedster Kashif Raza, who will be having his debut.
For Sri Lanka, wicket keeper/batsman Kaluwitharana comes back into the side, whereas Sangakarra goes out. Also the young speedster Ganegama makes way for experienced Dilhara Fernando.
The pitch is yet another batting paradise here at Sharjah, and Pakistani captain, upon winning the toss, has decided to bat first.
Date-stamped : 13 Apr2001 - 22:39