Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 2nd day

Gambhir shrewd at silly point

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

Daniel Brettig at Adelaide Oval

January 25, 2012

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Umesh Yadav had Michael Clarke bowled, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 2nd day, January 25, 2012
Ishant Sharma was the creator and spurner of a chance, while Umesh Yadav bowled one of those unplayable balls © AFP
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The warning shot
The first delivery that Michael Clarke faced today, bowled by Ishant Sharma, was respectfully left alone outside off stump. The second drifted towards leg stump, and Clarke clipped it forward of square leg with unerring timing and power, whisking the ball away to the boundary in a trice. It was a herald of what would follow, as Clarke maintained his imperious touch in the company of Ricky Ponting and 48 runs were breezily collected from the first nine overs of the morning.

The bouncer
Umesh Yadav has managed to produce the unplayable ball at regular intervals all through the series, regardless of how set the batsmen have been. Clarke had been lord of all he surveyed at Adelaide Oval, but on 165 he was completely unprepared for a whizzing Yadav bouncer that leapt at him, causing a flinching reaction and a looping edge off the shoulder of the bat. Unfortunately for Yadav, the ball flew beyond the reach of the slip cordon, and his next delivery, another bouncer, was helped around to the fine leg fence by Clarke.

The chances
Ponting and Clarke were both on the outskirts of 200 when Ishant conjured the first genuine chance of the day, and a rare glimmer of opportunity for India's bedraggled fielders. Unfortunately for Ishant, he was both the creator of the chance and the spurner of its reward, dropping a firm return from Ponting, who was able to take three runs after it burst through the bowler's hands in his follow-through. Ponting would offer another chance on 215, flicking R Ashwin to midwicket where VVS Laxman grassed it - that meant he was 0-2 since clasping Ed Cowan's cover drive on the first morning.

The swoop
Gautam Gambhir had not had much to do at silly point, but when Michael Hussey pushed Ashwin firmly to the right of the close-in fielder, he reacted with an alertness that had eluded India for much of the series. Stretching to grasp the ball on the bounce, Gambhir flicked it back to strike the stumps in one smooth motion. Hussey, who had run with the shot, suddenly had to back-pedal, and was comfortably short of his ground.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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