Australia v Sri Lanka, CB series, 3rd ODI, Perth

Tharanga does a Gambhir

Plays of the Day from the third ODI of the CB series, between Australia and Sri Lanka at the WACA

Sidharth Monga at the WACA

February 10, 2012

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Nuwan Kulasekara snatches a return catch to dismiss Michael Hussey, Australia v Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Bank Series, Perth, February 10, 2012
Nuwan Kulasekara's spectacular effort to get rid of Michael Hussey © AFP
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Players/Officials: Nuwan Kulasekara
Series/Tournaments: Commonwealth Bank Series

The breaks
It's hot in Perth, but just how hot it is, is evident from how the authorities had to shorten the interval between drinks breaks. Usually there are two drinks breaks in one innings, after every hour and 10 minutes, but today the players were allowed replenishments every 50 minutes. There can't be many envying them.

The catch
There haven't been many spectacular ones this season, but Nuwan Kulasekara's catch will make it to that category, not least because his came off his own bowling. It was no mean wicket either - that off Michael Hussey. In the 18th over, a fullish delivery seemed to have stopped and Hussey popped it back to the on side of the umpire. Kulasekara fought his forward momentum, leapt full length to his right, across the breadth of the pitch, and the ball stuck between his thumb, index and middle finger.

The running
Mitchell Starc and Clint McKay had added 32 valuable runs for the ninth wicket when Starc skied the last ball of the 48th over towards long-off. It was not an easy catch, and Starc and McKay were about to cross with both looking at the fielder. However, McKay realised it was the last ball of the over, and needed to retain strike for the penultimate over, and stopped running. Starc took the cue, and ran back to uncross, keeping McKay down at what would become the striking end for the next over.

The edgy visiting left-hand opener
Gautam Gambhir has found company. He has been pushing outside off and edging all summer. Viewers didn't miss him in the non-India game as Upul Tharanga took up the mantle, and after two or three attempts at pushing away from the body - not slashes, just limp pushes that would get him nothing even if the ball hit the middle of the bat - he finally edged Starc with an angled bat, and Michael Clarke at first slip did the rest.

The relief
During the Kumar Sangakkara run-out, McKay, the bowler, rushed towards short midwicket, picked the ball, turned around and threw the only stump visible to him down. However, he had not seen that Sangakkara had slipped and all it would have taken was a lob to Ricky Ponting, who had rushed to the stumps, to complete the run-out. Ponting's reaction as it happened was lovely. While the ball was in the flight, his hands went down, about to the height of his knees, palms facing McKay, as if about to say, "I was right here." And then he saw the ball hit the stumps, and there was relief on his face with the wicket taken.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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