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December 18, 2009
Barely an hour after Cricket Australia released a statement confirming that Ricky Ponting would not bat again in this match unless desperately required, he was, ah, desperately required. Ponting suffered a tendon injury just above his left elbow when struck by Kemar Roach in the first innings and had planned to rest it for the remainder of the game, but when Australia slipped to 7 for 125 in their second innings, Ponting made his way to the crease. It wasn't quite a spine-tingling Graeme Smith moment but it was an impressive show of character from a captain hoping to finish the series on a high.
Michael Clarke doesn't field at first slip to Australia's fast bowlers but he does move to that position as a specialist catcher for the spinners. Nathan Hauritz was starting to wonder why, after Clarke put down two gettable chances off his bowling. On the second day, Clarke put down Chris Gayle on 81 and on the third day he spilled what should have been taken when Brendan Nash was on 34. But Clarke eventually showed why he is installed in the cordon to slow bowlers when Nash edged again on 44 and Clarke took what was by far the hardest of his three chances, low and one-handed, diving to his left.
It was always going to be an interesting moment when Sulieman Benn came to the crease after the second-day fracas with Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin that led to Benn being suspended for two ODIs. The WACA crowd was certainly up to date with the previous day's proceedings, booing Benn as he came to the crease. Haddin thought he had the last laugh when he caught Benn for 3 but the spinner didn't back down when Australia batted, regularly chatting to the Australian batsmen in between overs as he walked from end to end. In the end it was Benn who went out smiling, when he had Haddin caught.
That's what gloves are for
Denesh Ramdin wears gloves all day in the field and when he's batting, so it's understandable that he might want to take them off when he's not on strike. He might reconsider that habit after he carried his gloves while running two for his partner Benn. Doug Bollinger's throw from the outfield came to the non-striker's end and struck Ramdin on the unprotected fingers as he made his ground, sending his gloves flying out of his hands.
The umpire Billy Bowden suffered some criticism on the second day for not stepping in earlier to prevent the physical confrontation between Sulieman Benn and Mitchell Johnson. That was a split-second judgment call, but Bowden should at least be able to count the correct number of balls in an over. On the third day he seemingly forgot he'd called a no-ball and let an over go by with five legal deliveries - the second time in the match he had called a five-ball over.
A comedy of errors
Barely anyone looked good when there was a horrible mix-up between Clarke and Shane Watson. Clarke nudged a ball into the covers and took off for a single, but Watson stayed firmly planted at the non-striker's end. However, Dwayne Bravo's fielding effort was even worse as he fumbled, fell and finally threw the ball well wide of the stumps at the striker's end. It allowed Watson to get through for a single but there was more to come: a lazy piece of backing up allowed the batsmen back for an overthrow as well.
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