Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 1st day January 3, 2011

Beach balls make an entry, batsmen hastily exit

ESPNcricinfo presents Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between Australia and India in Sydney

The misfield
In the fifth over of the innings, Virender Sehwag patted James Pattinson towards mid-off. Peter Siddle let it slide between his legs to the early bemusement of the crowd just settling in. The next ball would have rubbed it in further. With Dravid on strike, the delivery went for four.

The virtual handshake
Sehwag and Dravid are not the best runners between the wickets. It was evident when Sehwag punched Ben Hilfenhaus to the right of point. The calling wasn't clear, nor was the intent. The two just set off, then thought against it, then kept jogging. It seemed they even had a conversation in the middle of the pitch. Had David Warner, who dived to stop the ball, fielded it cleanly, we would have had a run-out.

The interruption
Beach balls are a big part of watching cricket in Australia. And often they find their way onto the field of play. There were two such noticeable intrusions today. One when the substitute, Adam Zampa, an Under-19 New South Welshman, came on as a substitute. The ball had made its way in, he took the ball, but didn't return it to the crowd, and was loudly booed. Later during the day, with MS Dhoni about to face, another ball made its way from around long-off rushing towards long-on. A volunteer jumped in, even as the fast bowler ran in to bowl, in a desperate attempt to keep the ball from making it to the sight screen. His valiant effort proved to be in vain.

The overthrows
In the 38th over of the innings, Dhoni pushed to the left of mid-off for a single, but got four for his efforts. The shy at the stumps missed, and between mid-on, who was backing up, and the stumps stood umpire Ian Gould. Nobody remonstrated, though. You don't, especially when there is no DRS.

The drop
It was an image you don't get to see often in cricket. A regulation edge to second slip, waist high, and Ricky Ponting dropped it. Commentary on ABC debated whether it was blasphemous to even say Ponting had dropped a catch. Sehwag, the beneficiary, added only seven to his 23, though.

The haste
When Siddle got No. 11 Umesh Yadav to edge one behind, MS Dhoni and Yadav rushed back to the hut to prepare for their bowling innings. However, for the third such time in the day, Ian Gould went up to check if the wicket-taking delivery had been a no-ball. Like the previous two occasions, here too the front foot was fine, which meant Siddle had taken his 100th Test wicket. It would have been interesting had it actually been a no-ball. Dhoni and Yadav would have had to get their gear back on, and rush back. A case - albeit flaky one - could have been made that India had declared.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo