Plays of the day December 19, 2009

An unfortunate nickname and fancy footwork

Drop drop
When Theo Doropoulos plays Twenty20s for Western Australia the nickname on his back is "Drop". Sadly for him, the name proved far too apt when he came on as a substitute fielder late in the day. He had barely taken the field when Sulieman Benn chipped Mitchell Johnson to mid-on, where Doropoulos put down a simple chance. Redemption came in Johnson's next over when Doropoulos, who had been banished to deep midwicket, was given another chance by the free-swinging Benn and this time held on.

Clint dirty
To paraphrase his namesake Eastwood, Clint McKay had to ask himself one question today: "Do I feel lucky?" Sadly for McKay, this didn't look like being his most fortunate day. He celebrated what he thought was his first Test wicket, complete with hugs and back-slaps from his team-mates, when Ian Gould adjudged Denesh Ramdin lbw. However Ramdin asked for a review and the final verdict was that the ball was slipping down leg. To add insult to injury, Gould signaled four leg-byes. McKay did get his chance to celebrate soon afterwards when he jagged one back off the seam to rattle Ramdin's stumps.

Fancy footwork, part one
Chris Gayle has impressed fans this series with his soccer skills, including a display in which he kept the ball in the air for about ten kicks before it hit the turf. This time his efforts were far more serious, when in the first over of the innings, he fended away a short delivery from Doug Bollinger and the ball spun back towards his stumps. Gayle was late in realising the danger and only a last-ditch toe-poke saved him from being bowled.

Fancy footwork, part two
Doug Bollinger wasn't to be outdone - shortly afterwards Gayle nudged a delivery back down the pitch, giving the bowler a chance to show his own skills. He kept it in the air with both feet, and his knees, but only managed about five touches before it hit the ground. Still, it was more agreeable footwork than Bollinger had displayed in Adelaide, when his kick of the turf in anger at a negated lbw appeal earned him a reprimand from the match referee.

Mitch hitch
The absence of Mitchell Johnson at various periods during the day didn't help the Australians, after he was sick all through the night and into the fourth day with gastro issues. Johnson did take the field and bowled in short spells but he was clearly unwell, often hunching over in discomfort. He had to leave the field several times and his condition was not helped by the heat in Perth, where the temperature soared as high as 37 degrees.

They could be contenders
Australia are facing the possibility that Ponting will miss his first Test in five years with his elbow tendon problem placing him in doubt for Boxing Day. If that were to happen, the selectors would face an interesting decision over his replacement. As the fourth day unfolded at the WACA, the contenders presented their cases around the country. Leading the charge was Phillip Hughes, who made a quick 122 in a Sheffield Shield game in Newcastle, although bringing in an extra opener would require some shuffling of the batting order. At Adelaide Oval, Michael Klinger scored a patient, unbeaten 64 after Shaun Marsh had made 82. Other candidates including George Bailey, David Hussey and Cameron White, will be batting for their states over the next couple of days.

Free entry for day five
Despite being a Saturday, the crowd of 8556 on the fourth day was lower than any of the first three days of the game. The WACA will open the gates for free on the final day, with Australia requiring only one wicket and West Indies 51 runs for victory.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo