Plays of the day December 1, 2008

Ducks of the day


Chris Martin got his sixth pair of ducks in Tests © Getty Images (file photo)
 

Another captain, another classic catch
At the Gabba in 1985-86 Allan Border pulled off a screamer in the cordon to remove John Reid, hurling himself to his left to clasp the chance one-handed. More than 20 years later Border's fellow Australian captain Ricky Ponting grabbed a similar blinder against the same opponents. Jamie How's thick edge off Brett Lee flew to the right of second slip, where Ponting flung himself to clutch the ball at full stretch. There have been few better slips catches and Ponting set off for an uncharacteristic soccer-style celebration. He couldn't repeat the effort a few overs later when he dived to his left and Daniel Flynn's edge was fractionally out of reach.

A duck of the highest order
Iain O'Brien has got under the Australians' skin several times this series and he continued to frustrate them as the finale approached. O'Brien combined with Brendon McCullum for a 50-run ninth-wicket partnership that pushed the game into the final session of the fourth day, and O'Brien contribution in the stand was zero. When he was adjudged lbw to Brett Lee his 38-ball innings was over, and his 54-minute stay was the fifth-longest duck in terms of time in Test history.

A long one
Relying on O'Brien to hold up an end is one thing but asking the same of Chris Martin is quite another. Martin came to the crease with 24 Test ducks to his name and the only time he reached double figures was against Bangladesh. So when McCullum reverse-swept the last ball of a Nathan Hauritz over into the outfield, it was understandable that the batsmen would only take a single. But the fielder, Stuart Clark, was just as keen to see the ball reach the boundary to keep Martin on strike for the next over. The ball refused to obey Clark and pulled up, and it became one of the more comical singles in recent times. McCullum's lack of faith was well founded; when Martin was again out for 0 he completed a record sixth pair in Test cricket.

Together for charity
Players from both teams were wearing red ribbons on their sleeves on Monday to mark World AIDS Day, five years after the ICC became the first international sports organisation to form a partnership with UNAIDS. The support from world cricket has been so strong that in 2007 at the World Cup in the Caribbean and the World Twenty20 in South Africa, there were 24 separate player visits to community projects to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo