Australia v India 2007-08 / News

Plays of the day

Fired up Harbhajan stops, drops and rolls

Cricinfo staff

January 5, 2008

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Harbhajan Singh's celebration included a couple of rolls in the outfield © Getty Images
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Bhajji's bunny
Harbhajan Singh's trance over Ricky Ponting gains in strength with each innings. Having dismissed Ponting on day one, Harbhajan collected Ponting with his first ball at the batsman and his record is now as stunning as the celebration. He sprinted towards the boundary before rolling twice to mark the achievement. "It's a good thing he stayed on the ground," Sourav Ganguly said, "I thought he was going to the dressing room." It was the eighth time Ponting, whose leading edge went to VVS Laxman at silly point, had fallen to Harbhajan in eight Tests. It was not the last Ponting saw of the Indians as he had to run for Matthew Hayden, who had a sore right thigh.

Standing firm
Michael Clarke had seen Andrew Symonds and Ponting survive caught-behind decisions in the first innings so he thought he would try it when he edged Anil Kumble to ... first slip. The deviation to Rahul Dravid was marked but Clarke waited for Steve Bucknor to give him out and collected his first zero in Tests. "Why did he wait?" Hayden said. "Just to see the umpire's finger go up." The dismissal followed Hayden's exit and Kumble's hat-trick delivery, a wrong'un to Andrew Symonds, almost secured an lbw, although there was doubt over the height.

In reverse
Hayden had a bit of trouble connecting with some of his sweeps, but there was no problem when he moved to fifty. With a vacant region behind point, he turned himself around and reverse-swept Harbhajan from outside leg stump. It was a brave, unconventional but effective stroke, which he tried for the first time in Tests. He hasn't perfected it yet as he was dismissed playing the shot.

Momentum shift
Australia were meandering in the morning as they worked on reducing the deficit, but Hayden changed the tempo with 14 runs off an Ishant Sharma over. Hayden powered three boundaries and a two to signal the lift in pace and shortly after Australia moved into the lead. They finished with an advantage of 213.

Rain and coffee breaks
The numerous weather interruptions were annoying for the spectators and the players and Hayden revealed what he did to keep busy. "I had a lot of flat white coffees just to try and relax," he said. "The breaks in play leant a bit to me because I was very sore with my leg."

A different set of spikes
India began the day with a game of volleyball, with the batsmen taking on the bowlers. It was played out in a relaxed air with some tapping instead of spiking. The game was one of the features of their tour last time around and John Wright remembered how India suddenly stopped doing well when the side didn't have the contests. Going by their batting performance in this match, the volleyball luck appears to have resurfaced.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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