Maharoof strikes on return

Paceman rattles Australia with disciplined bowling

It was the first one-dayer for Farveez Maharoof since June 2010 at Dambulla against India, but the lanky paceman showed no stage fright against Australia at the fabled SCG on Friday.

Thissara Perera might have bagged the man of the match, but Maharoof was easily the brightest star in Lankan bowling line-up this evening. He made his presence felt, grabbing a rather simple chance at mid-on to dismiss David Warner off Lasith Malinga.

But that was just an appetiser. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene handed the ball to Maharoof, who replaced an out of form Upul Tharanga in the eleven, in the ninth over, and the Colombo man immediately slipped into a nice rhythm, mixing up his deliveries and sticking to an exemplary line.

The reward came in his second over. Maharoof lured Ponting into a drive with a 117 kmph slow delivery, and all the Tasmanian could manage was a to scoop the ball straight back to the bowler.

The dismissal gave Maharoof even more confidence, and the right-arm medium pacer continued to plug away at a length that made driving a perilous option for batsmen. Only once Maharoof erred in his line, and Mike Hussey exploited the full ball with a trademark drive through covers, moving across the crease.

Maharoof was quick to find his spot, and Peter Forrest soon fell a victim to the Lankan’s smartness. Denied of drive-length deliveries, Forrest grew in frustration, and dabbled with one outside the off stump to put Angelo Mathews in action at slips. It was a brilliantly plotted dismissal that revealed the full cunningness of the bowler, and a captain who allows his bowlers to set their field.

“Normally, I don’t tell much to the bowlers and confuse them. They have the ball in their hands, and they know what to do. So, I leave certain things to them, and it’s a learning experience for them in taking control of the situation,” Jayawardene said.

Maharoof was in full control of his craft throughout the evening and that reflected in his figures (8-1-18-2). The only blemish was a misfield at the boundary that allowed Mitchell Starc to collect four runs off Rangana Herath. But Maharoof’s comeback left Jayawardene a vastly satisfied man.

“Maha bowled an excellent spell, and we couldn’t have asked more on his return. He can get the ball to swing on both ways, and get some good bounce as well because of his height. Then he has a wonderful slow delivery, and some very good variations as well. He’s clearly on the right track,” Jayawardene said.

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