Plays of the day March 10, 2005

Not this time

It was a moment the crowd had not been waiting for. Sachin Tendulkar, six runs short of a milestone no man has ever achieved, a 35th Test century, drove at a ball from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and got a thick outside-edge that was caught by Asim Kamal at gully. It was a measured innings, but Tendulkar had been losing that measure as he approached his century. At 86 he complained about a disturbance above the sightscreen. At 90 he tried a wild slog-sweep off Danish Kaneria and survived an lbw shout. At 94 it was over.

Sunil Gavaskar was also out short of a 35th hundred once. Gavaskar made 96 then, and never played again. Tendulkar will be back.

Making bad luck

"Good players make their own luck," the old cliche goes, and Pakistan have relentlessly made their own bad luck in this Test. There they were, having got Sehwag out and restricted India to 55 runs in 28 overs after lunch. Sourav Ganguly decided to hit out. He flayed at an awaygoing ball from Mohammad Sami, edged it, and Younis Khan at slip took a good catch. Then the umpire's arm made its move. No-ball.

The very next ball, Ganguly guided Sami to Taufeeq Umar at gully. This was not a no-ball, but Umar spilt the catch. Sami looked as if he might start crying.

Reading Kaneria

Danish Kaneria was the only one of Pakistan's bowlers to get any respect from the Indians yesterday, but Virender Sehwag had figured him out today, and was reading him well. At one point, he twice made early decisions to let balls pitched just outside off stump go by, as he'd spotted that they were legbreaks. Then Kaneria bowled a googly, hoping Sehwag would let that go as well. But Sehwag read it perfectly, got into position early, and slog-swept it for four to midwicket. The batsman had set the bowler up.

One, two, three, four

It is rare that with Sachin Tendulkar at the crease, Indian crowds chant someone else's name. That is the impact Virender Sehwag has had on Indian cricket. As Rana Naved-ul-Hasan ran in to bowl to Sehwag, the crowd chanted "Sehwag, Sehwag". Short ball outside off, Sehwag slashed it past point for four.

The crowd now began to chant:

Ek Chawkka aur maar
Ek do teen chaar

(Hit one more four
One, two, three, four)

Naved ran in again, pitched short again, and Sehwag slashed him past point again. Four more.

As an enraptured crowd continued chanting, Naved shifted to bowling round the wicket, and Sehwag edged him between the wicketkeeper and slip for four more. In that over, it was "Ee do teen". Now, had it been an eight-ball over ...

Amit Varma is contributing editor of Cricinfo. He writes the independent blogs, India Uncut and The Middle Stage.