Ball One – The new ground at Hambantota looks very well appointed, if a little too far out of town for fans to attend easily – at least until the area is further developed in the reconstruction of the area after the tsunami’s destruction. It’s the fashion on the subcontinent to name stadiums for local administrators, and Hambantota is no exception – this stadium is called the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium. Isn’t this a missed opportunity? No Lankan kid grows up wanting to emulate Mr Rajapaksa, whom I’m sure has laudable qualities, but they do grow up wanting to be Muttiah Muralitharan or Arjuna Ranatunga. Wouldn’t it be more inspirational to name the stadium for an icon of Sri Lankan cricket? Now is the right time to apply similar thinking to Lahore’s ground too.
Ball Two – Very rare for a catch to be referred and upheld, but, in real time and over a number of replays, Seren Waters looked to have taken his catch cleanly, with a fine piece of athletic fielding. What differentiated this catch from other such referrals, was that it was not a scoop off the ground, but a juggled catch during which the ball was (just) visible at all times. A good call from the umpires and another justification for television’s use in decision-making.
Ball Three – Younis Khan calls for a review having been given out LBW on the front foot to a straight ball. The only question in his mind can have been the issue of height. On these pitches, with a ball two deliveries before being changed, it seemed unlikely to be going over the top and, sure enough, it wasn’t. A lesson there for other batsmen considering a review later in this tournament.
Ball Four – I’m no expert and I hardly speak from experience, but many Kenyan players look very stiff indeed. Whilst one would not necessarily expect Jimmy Kamande’s boys to be as pampered as Strauss’ or Punter’s, a little stretching would surely go a long way. Thomas Odoyo, brought back to bowl the 35th, barely got his arm over and gave away 10 wides in three deliveries. After that, the captain brought himself on and… bowled a wide first up. Sunday cricket stuff, I’m afraid.
Ball Five – Bullying is not welcome in most walks of life, but it really works in ODI cricket. Pakistan showed the advantage of bullying the opposition in taking 70 runs from their batting powerplay. Keeping the foot on the throat matters in ODI cricket, because you never know when the positions will be reversed.
Ball Six – Tony Hill turns down Thomas Odoyo’s LBW shout. It looked straight at first glance and at second glance and Hawkeye showed it was hitting middle stump half-way up. Very hard to see how Mr Hill could give that not out – maybe he was taken by surprise by Odoyo managing to get one on line. Not very impressive umpiring though – we do need the best for the knockout stages.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999.