New Delhi: In order to have a smooth release, let alone extracting pace and bounce, a fast bowler needs a rhythmic run-up leading to a strong load-up. On Saturday, Day 2 of the day-night Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Dubai, Wahab Riaz had none.
Of all the pace, bounce and feisty nature to go with him, foot work has not been the strongest part of Wahab Riaz, even an ardent Pakistan fan would agree. But what he wouldn’t is for Riaz to miss his run-up not once or twice but five times in a row.
For sure things were not going Pakistan’s way. The second new ball had failed. The barren Dubai pitch was providing little assistance to the bowlers and to top it all, Wahab was bowling to Dimuth Karunratne (165*), whose bat was appearing wider than the length of Burj Khalifa. Yet one would find it hard to believe how a fast bowler of Wahab’s caliber and experience can forget how to load-up for a delivery – for five times in a row that is.
The extraordinary turn of events in the 111th over of the Sri Lankan innings saw Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur scratching heads after the first to Riaz misses and when the left-armer repeated it another two times, Arthur had it. He got off his chair to go back inside the dressing room.
Wahab Riaz misses his run-up " FIVE TIMES " in a row
— Ahsan. 🇵🇰 (@iPakistaniLAD) October 7, 2017
The disbelief on captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s face was a sorry sight. Perhaps he could have had a word with his experienced seamer to know the reason for such hara-kiri just to release a delivery. Then again, the Dubai heat can take a toll on the best in the business.
As it turned out, it was Riaz who accounted for of Karunaratne, who dragged the ball onto his stumps, 4 shy of his maiden double ton. But when both the southpaws returned to the shade one knew exactly who was the content one.