Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 4th day

Cowan pokes Siddle, Tendulkar leaves for four

ESPNcricinfo presents Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the first Test between Australia and India in Melbourne

Sidharth Monga at the MCG

December 29, 2011

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Peter Siddle got rid of Gautam Gambhir cheaply, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 4th day, December 29, 2011
Helmets have turned out to be quite the weapon in this Test - on the fourth day one got Peter Siddle in the eye © Getty Images
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The half appeal
When Umesh Yadav hit Michael Hussey's pad in the 64th over of Australia's innings, India had Hussey lbw for the second time in the innings. On both occasions it was Yadav bowling. On both occasions India put in only a half appeal. It is unlikely India would have gone for the DRS review on those appeals even if it was available. It could be reading too much into it, but Hussey does seem to have a pretty effective way of dealing with leg-before appeals: he sets off for a leg-bye immediately, and that could distract from an appeal.

The leaves
Amid the falling wickets, India would have taken all the runs that came their way. And Tendulkar found an innovative way to score when on two occasions he wound up guiding James Pattinson for fours when actually looking to leave the ball alone. On both occasions he was late in the act of withdrawing the bat. One went through fine leg, one through the gap between slips and gully.

The no-ball drama
For a few agonising seconds, Pattinson must have thought this was a desperately unlucky afternoon for him. He had got VVS Laxman caught at square leg, but the umpires asked Laxman to hang on for a bit. They wanted to check the front foot. The crowd booed. The replays were touch and go, but the umpires ruled he had just enough part of the foot behind the line. The roof came off when the finger went up again.

The poke
This celebration could have easily gone wrong. When Peter Siddle got R Ashwin caught at forward short leg, he ran into an enthusiastic, and helmeted, Ed Cowan. The peak of the helmet got Siddle in the eye. Siddle, though, charged in for another over before ending his spell, which ruled out any major discomfort.

The applause
You can't blame the MCG crowd for not knowing a big moment when they see one. Tendulkar had just been caught at gully, the Australians were almost done celebrating, and suddenly another fresh round of loud applause went around the MCG. Then you realised they were bidding farewell to Tendulkar, who might not be seen at this ground in whites again. If he does, he will have to be playing the Boxing Day Test in 2014.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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