Plays of the day January 4, 2008

The end of the nineties era

Cricinfo staff

Hundred at last: Sachin Tendulkar gets a century after getting out seven times in the nineties last year © Getty Images

No more nervous nineties
Everything seemed routine with Sachin Tendulkar's hundred until he took his helmet off and punched his fists in the air. Looking up to the skies, he let out a mighty whoop and held the gladiatorial pose for a few seconds. The standing ovation appeared to go forever, with Tendulkar acknowledging the various stands at what a banner called the "Sachin Cricket Ground". He had endured seven nineties in 2007, including three innings of 99 in one-dayers, but the new year has brought more luck.

Fire and frustration
Sourav Ganguly resembled an angry gardener when he was dismissed. Batting as if in a dream, he waltzed to 67 without worry when, against the run of play, he chipped to Michael Hussey at mid-off. Unable to control his frustration, he turned his back to the umpire, stood with his legs apart and smashed his bat against the ground as if digging a pit. He probably wanted to bury himself.

Bhajji pulls one out of the hat
Just as it appeared that Tendulkar would need to shield the tail, with Harbhajan Singh starting a bit edgily, out came a sensational pull shot. Brett Lee dug one short and Harbhajan moved back and across before smacking it through midwicket for four. He even had his front leg in the air as he played it and a calypso in the background would have worked perfectly.

Fabulous 400
A day after spilling two relatively simple catches, Adam Gilchrist finally brought up his 400th Test dismissal in the second session. Brett Lee's offcutter forced Mahendra Singh Dhoni's edge and Gilchrist accepted the comfortable take to become the second man after Mark Boucher to reach the milestone. No. 401 arrived two overs later when Anil Kumble fell the same way, but 402 was delayed when a top edge from Harbhajan bobbled from Gilchrist's gloves after he leaped to intercept it.

Tail turns the tale
Australian frustrations grew as India approached and then passed their 463. Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting had a lengthy chat with Harbhajan before uncharacteristic sloppiness in the field. Things grew worse when Ishant Sharma collected 23, which was 16 more than his previous highest first-class score, and the innings more than doubled his career haul of 15 in his first 17 matches.