Plays of the day February 12, 2008

Learn the art of improvisation from the master

Nagraj Gollapudi at the Manuka Oval


Rohit Sharma got to his fifty by cutting a short ball for four behind the keeper © AFP
 

Improviso
Premeditation doesn't work even for the master. Having charged down the track to hit the ball of the ground, Sachin Tendulkar only managed to play and miss. Still the aggressive intent wasn't curbed for the next ball which was on a good length and pitched outside off. Tendulkar had already moved inside the line and picked the length to flick his wrist and send the ball flying over the inner circle past the vacant fine leg. Improvisation par excellence.

Drag flick
The Indians have definitely improved in their running between the wickets but Gautam Gambhir, probably the fastest runner in their line-up, was run out owing to some superb fielding by the Sri Lankans. Rohit Sharma hit one straight to Chamara Kapugedera at point. Kapugedera threw it straight to bowler Lasith Malinga, who was backing up on his follow through and in one motion, managed to pick up the ball and hit the stumps in a drag flick-like fashion.

Why pull when you can cut?
Ideally in the slog overs it is better to go on the offensive. It doesn't matter what the ball is like. But Rohit Sharma thought better. Nuwan Kulasekara pitched it short, Rohit waited patiently and got the faintest edge of the bat to steer it over the keeper's head for four to bring up his half-century.

Tonked
Bowling to Sanath Jayasuriya is never easy. Despite being the oldest one-day player on the circuit he can still play the butcher. Sreesanth found that out the hard way in his second over after having been already taken for 11 off his first. First came the biggest six of the match - a short-arm jab over sqaure leg out of the ground and into a tree. A swing over the cover fielder for a boundary was followed by another high six, this time over the point boundary. Then a top edge fell a few yards inside the ropes behind the keeper. There was no respite for Sreesanth even after the 23-run over as the Appu Army took him on.

Haydenesque
Kumar Sangakkara got the measure of the dangerous Ishant Sharma who was hitting 150kph without much difficulty. It was a short one moving away but Sangakarra bludgeoned it low and flat to mid-off boundary. Stepping out, swatting the ball with a horizontal bat made Sangakkara look uncannily like Matthew Hayden.