Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day

Zaheer's bad luck and sweet victory

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second day of the third Test between Australia and India in Perth

Sidharth Monga at the WACA

January 14, 2012

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Zaheer Khan gives Brad Haddin a send-off, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day, January 14, 2012
Zaheer Khan celebrates his victory over Brad Haddin © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: India tour of Australia
Teams: Australia | India

The achievement
When Zaheer Khan went for just two runs in the 29th over of the Australian innings, India had finally brought the run-rate down to under six an over. Australia were 0 for 170 after 29 overs. David Warner's response: he smashed the next ball, from Ishant Sharma, well over long-off for a six.

The drop
Chances were at an obvious premium for India. Zaheer, though, produced one. He bowled well in the morning session, in the channel outside off, getting little movement either way. Just before he produced the edge, though, Sachin Tendulkar had been sent into the deep, and Rahul Dravid had gone off the field. That left Virat Kohli at first slip. On cue Zaheer brought about an edge.

MS Dhoni didn't go for it, but he shouted "catch" immediately, and it was all Kohli's at first slip. The ball dipped a little but not alarmingly. For a second it seemed to stick in his right hand but popped out eventually. Dazed looks from captain and slipper. Warner was 126 then.

The move
That edge was produced in Zaheer's sixth over of the morning. He had gone for only 18, and had troubled the batsmen a bit. Warner was on strike again, and you would have expected Zaheer to get another over in. He didn't. However, Umesh Yadav, his replacement, soon produced two breakthroughs.

The reaction
When he was struck on the head on day one, Warner upper-cut the next delivery for four. Today, one ball hit a crack, nipped back in, and got him in the left elbow. Warner got some attention, and punched the next ball past point for three. The only sign of discomfort that appeared was his holding the bat only in the right hand even when turning around both for the second and the third.

The Zaheer moment
"Brad Haddin should focus on his keeping. That looks really fragile to me. He needs to start moving." That's what Zaheer had to say of Haddin, who had said India were fragile and were turning on each other. On day one, the two didn't come face to face. Today, though, Zaheer dismissed Michael Clarke to bring out Haddin. However bad the series might have been for India so far, in such times Zaheer usually comes out the winner. It helped that Haddin was much more subdued out in the middle.

First ball, short of a length, from round the stumps, Haddin took his eyes off and got one in the elbow. Zaheer was not shy of a word. A hello, maybe. The next ball, short of a length again, moved in, thudded into the thigh pad. Over break. Next ball, short of a length, held its line outside off, took the edge. Zaheer blew kisses benevolently as Haddin walked back.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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