Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 1st day January 14, 2012

The not-obstructing-the-field saga

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

The sight
Two slips only until the second over of a Test match. The pitch was flat as promised, and Umesh Yadav didn't get off to an accurate start, conceding 12 in his first over. The stand-in captain, Virender Sehwag, reacted promptly, and took out one of the slips. That's how it stayed for most of the day.

The chase
In that second over of the day, David Warner drove Yadav down the ground, between the stumps and mid-off. R Ashwin, from mid-off, started slow, hoping it would go for four, but the ball held up just inside the long straight boundary. It was one of the rare cases in modern cricket when the batsman ran all four, but still would have kicked themselves for not running enough.

The sight II
Sehwag was not shy of eyebrow-raising moves. In the fourth over of the first day of a Test in Australia, he brought on the spinner, R Ashwin. And it worked. Ashwin began with back-to-back-maidens, some control was reassumed, and India got the better of the first session with three wickets. Two of them, Shaun Marsh and Ed Cowan, went to Ashwin.

The MS Dhoni moment
In the 45th over of the innings, Michael Clarke cut at a short and a wide delivery, edging it between the keeper and a wide slip. It was strictly a half chance for the keeper, but Saha didn't even go for it, in homage perhaps to the keeper he is replacing who makes it a point to not go for catches between keeper and slip unless they are dying. At least Dhoni usually has the excuse of a slip standing close to him. For Saha, though, the slip was fairly wide, and if any man was going to catch it, it was Saha.

The appeal
Just before tea, Clarke stole a single to square leg, from where Ashwin shied at the stumps at the non-striker's end. The throw hit Clarke's bat, and ricocheted towards the straight boundary. Ashwin showed presence of mind, and appealed for obstructing the field. As per the revised rules, a batsman can be given out if he changes his direction to come in the way of the throw. Replays, though, suggested that Clarke was in the right, and never changed his line of running. Perhaps miffed that the appeal was made, Clarke chose to run overthrows off his bat, which batsmen usually turn down. Later, he apologised and asked the umpire if those runs could be revoked. He just did it instinctively, he said, and would like to undo it if he could. Of course, he was not allowed to do so.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo