Plays of the day January 25, 2010

Missed opportunities and bouncers

Twice shy
Rahul Dravid's innings ended in trouble with a bruised jaw, but he had his share of luck during the knock. The first one came when he was on 9; he backed up too far and Gautam Gambhir's straight drive went very close to the lunging bowler Shafiul Islam and hit the stumps. Dravid was short of the crease but the question was whether the bowler got a touch. Shafiul was confident that he had but the replays didn't offer conclusive evidence. Dravid survived. The next one came when Dravid was on 28; a wonderful bouncer from Rubel Hossain had him fending awkwardly low and to the right of the wide slip where Junaid Siddique took a superb catch but it was a no-ball. Unaware of his lifeline, Dravid walked away and had almost reached square-leg when he got the news. There was no visible emotion; he just turned and headed back to the crease.

Short stories
Does this even qualify for trivia? When was the last time both Indian openers were done in by bouncers? Virender Sehwag could not get away from a Shahadat Hossain bouncer which came in to cramp him and Gambhir was taken out by an accurate bouncer from Shafiul, operating from round the stumps. The sparse crowd loved both dismissals.

And one that wasn't
Dravid got a ton but it wasn't all happy news for his fans though, as he fractured his jaw after being hit by another sharp bouncer from Shahadat which forced him to leave the field. He ducked into a short one, in the second over of the second new ball, but it didn't climb as high as he thought it would. It thudded into the ear-guard, as he yanked his face away at the last minute and after a chat with the physio, Dravid walked off the field.

More luck
Sachin Tendulkar had his share of luck as well, being dropped on 27 and again on 53, Raqibul Hossain playing Santa both times. The second was a difficult chance; Tendulkar didn't connect well with his upper-cut and Raqibul moved to his left at gully and dived but couldn't get his palms under the ball. The first was a sitter, though. Tendulkar hit an uppish square-drive off Rubel but Raqibul, at gully, floored it. Raqibul sank to the ground, Mahmudullah held his head, the rest looked shocked and the crowd gasped.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo