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June 24, 2010
Bowler of the day
Stuart Broad missed out on cheap wickets against Bangladesh last month after being sent on a "strength and conditioning" programme by the ECB, which is a fancy way of saying he was dispatched to the gym. All those hours of heavy weights paid dividends today, however, as Broad made a sluggish pitch look deceptively springy with a back-bending spell of 4 for 44 in ten overs. His natural aggression was allied to a splice-jangling length, and none of Australia's batsmen looked at ease as he ripped out three wickets in his first six overs. Tim Paine may have been strangled down the leg-side, but Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke had no qualms about their dismissals, as Broad set the tone for another energetic England performance.
Self-preservation of the day
The use of a short leg is a rarity in one-day cricket. So rare, in fact, that when Luke Wright overstepped during a feisty spell from the River Taff End, he inadvertently highlighted an anomaly in the game's new Free Hit rules. Under the provisions of Law 24.2, no fielding changes are permissible ahead of a Free Hit delivery, but that prospect left Graeme Swann under the lid feeling distinctly uneasy. He assessed the likelihood of a scorching pull clattering into his ribs (high), divided it by the chances of taking a game-changing catch (non-existent), and after a brief consultation with captain and umpires, trotted off to the boundary's edge to sit out the delivery (which, as it happens, was toe-ended to point).
Non-catch of the day
The aforementioned Free Hit was doubly unfortunate for England, seeing as they would have picked up their fourth wicket in 20 overs had it not been for Wright's faulty footwork. On 3, Cameron White fenced outside off, and snicked a low chance towards Craig Kieswetter, who responded with instincts he usually reserves for off-stump half-volleys to stretch athletically and low to his right, and cling on one-handed to a screaming catch. Seeing as White went on to anchor Australia's innings with an unbeaten 86, it had the makings of a costly error.
Catch of the day
At the age of 35 and with 347 ODI appearances under his belt already, Ricky Ponting is what you might describe as long in the tooth. But on the evidence of the catch he produced to extract Kevin Pietersen, he's a long way from becoming a liability in the field. With the legspinner Steven Smith just entering the attack, Pietersen was predictably eager to mark his territory against the rookie, and a bludgeoned leg-side four was the start of his anticipated onslaught. Ponting, however, brought himself into the firing line at short midwicket, and from the very next delivery, he launched himself upwards and backwards to snatch a one-handed chance in his fingertips.
Landmark of the day
Paul Collingwood launched his ODI career back in the summer of 2001, and was part of an England team that lost six matches out of six to Australia and Pakistan. He would not have imagined back then that he would go on to become his country's most capped player in limited-overs cricket, let alone top the run-charts in that format as well. But, having overhauled Alec Stewart's total of 170 matches during the recent tour of South Africa, Collingwood today eased past his runs tally as well. The shot that got him there was a nondescript pull to fine leg off Clint McKay, as he moved his score for the day to 33, and for his career to 4678. By the end of the match, he was sitting pretty on 4693 and was 62nd on the all-time list.
Gamebreaker of the day
Compared to the heights that he reached at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, Eoin Morgan produced a far from fluent performance, but in the final analysis, it did not matter. Australia improved their tactics against him, in particular by cutting out the driveable half-volleys, but the target was some 40 runs below par and there wasn't any need for him to go after the game with anything like the same gusto. While he and Collingwood were chiselling away the requirement in an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket, he reached the boundary just once in his first 52 balls. His eventual dismissal for 52 from 64 left the crowd agog in silence, but with the requirement already down to three an over, England's more-than-competent tail completed the job with room to spare.
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