Tahir'is More Economical 3-iron Bundles SL 231 > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Tahir's economical 3-fer bundles out SL for 231

Tahir finished with figures of 3 for 26 from his 10 overs.

At the start of the 37th over, Sri Lanka were at 195 for 4. Barring the big-hitting Thisara Perera, they had very little batting credentials in their lower order. But with two set batsmen - Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva - going along smoothly in a fifth-wicket partnership that had already yielded 94 runs, and a southpaw in mad-cap form, they had enough to hope that 300 wasn't out of reach on a decent batting wicket. And then, Imran Tahir was brought back in to the attack.

Twenty overs earlier, when the leggie had begun his spell, he had induced an outside edge off Kusal Perera's bat, courtesy a googly, and had him caught-behind to end a well-paced 76-run stand that had stabilised Sri Lanka's innings after the early fall of the openers.

On his return spell, he struck again. This time, it was a well tossed up delivery that drew de Silva ahead only for him to be beaten by a legbreak and having Quinton de Kock whip off the bails swiftly. It was a close call, but the third umpire after numerous replays gave the decision in favour of the bowling side. What began with the fall of de Silva's wicket was a collapse that underlined the disappointment of Sri Lanka's batting, that had witnessed two revival partnerships which didn't get their due with Sri Lanka's eventual total of 231.

Both teams had come into the match handing debut caps to one player each. While the hosts brought in pacer Anrich Nortje, Sri Lanka gave Oshada Fernando his maiden ODI cap. Even before Nortje came in to the attack and had Fernando in a dazed state with a pacy delivery that shot up came in and had him beaten, the Sri Lankan debutant had shown enough glimpse of his class. The best of his many impressive strokes came when he hit Lungisani Ngidi straight over his head for a six. The shot, much like most of his innings, was descriptive of his audaciousness. It had come against the bowler who was steaming in around the mid-140s and the one responsible for the dismissal of both the openers. Nonetheless, Fernando had little respect for reputation.

He was crisp and positive en route his 40s. However, he slowed down and became additionally cautious as he kept coming closer to the half-century mark. Eventually, soon after Kusal Perera's dismissal, a mid-pitch confusion with Kusal Mendis resulted in him having to take a suicidal run and falling short. Out for 49. That wasn't to be the only run-out of Sri Lanka's innings. Akila Danajaya too became a victim of some poor decisions, in the company of Thisara, and became the seventh batsman to fall. His dismissal had come only a ball after the most decisive wicket of Sri Lanka's innings fell.

Kusal Mendis, who had crafted his 13th ODI fifty and played the primary role in the 94-run partnership for the ninth wicket fell in his bid to go over the infield against Tahir and holed out to Rassie van der Dussen at cover, paving way for a collapse. The leggie eventually finished with figures of 3 for 26 from his 10 overs

Wickets fell at quick intervals and the lower order found the pace of the South African bowlers too hot to handle. And not surprisingly, when Nortje eventually got a wicket, it was his pace, or the fear of it, that drew the batsman (Lakshan Sandakan) away from the ball and had him edge it to the 'keeper. Even as it wasn't the most impressive of debuts, conceding 33 runs from 7 overs, he managed to have an international wicket against his name. For better days to come!

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 231 in 47 overs (Kusal Mendis 60, Oshada Fernando 49; Imran Tahir 3-26, Lungisani Ngidi 3-60) vs South Africa

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