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Plays of the day from the fourth day of the third Test between England and India at Edgbaston
August 13, 2011
Precedent of the day
Were India's batsmen up for the fight? To judge from the maddening swish with which Virender Sehwag collected his king pair on Friday evening, there was a certain something lacking from their mindset, and on Saturday morning, Gautam Gambhir did nothing to dispel that perception. James Anderson's first delivery pitched on middle-and-leg and zipped towards the slips, and as it did so, Gambhir obligingly nudged it on its way. Graeme Swann swallowed the offering, and after seven deliveries of the fourth day, the stable door was flapping open.
Shoelace of the day
In a thrilling morning spell, Anderson was bowling as if the ball was on a string - an apt analogy given the bizarre manner of Rahul Dravid's departure. With two hundreds to his name in the series so far, Dravid's endurance was India's only real hope of prolonging the contest into the final day - or, as it happened, the final session. But on 18, he was beaten by a jaffa from Anderson that zipped past his edge, and caused an audible snick as the ball headed inexorably for the base of Matt Prior's gloves. England went up in unison, and umpire Simon Taufel's finger followed suit, and after pausing to confer with his partner, Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid chose not to challenge the verdict. Had he done so, however, the replays would have shown that the plastic end of his shoelace had been responsible for the snick.
Achievement of the day
It was not an auspicious day for India's batsmen, but at least they avoided one small level of ignominy, courtesy of a scrambled leg-bye in the 27th over, as Graeme Swann tweaked an offbreak past Tendulkar's hip. That extra took India's score to 71 for 4, following on from their first-innings 224, which thereby ensured that they had finally overhauled Alastair Cook's personal match total of 294 runs. That they did so for the loss of 14 wickets rather epitomised the gulf that has erupted between the two sides.
Saw-off of the day
For the second time in consecutive lost causes, Tendulkar provided more proof that, in spite of his lean returns in this series, he remains a class above many of his colleagues. He alone found the rhythm and composure to thwart England's bowlers, as he pushed along to 40 from 60 balls to awaken the prospect of a significant slice of Indian cheer - that long-awaited 100th international hundred. Alas it was not to be, and the manner of his departure rather summed up the state of the Indian innings. MS Dhoni planted his front foot down the pitch and smacked a drive at Swann, who reached out his right hand and deflected the ball onto the non-striker's stumps. The replay was tight, but the line in such moments belongs to the umpire.
Brawler of the day
If the rest of India's team could be imbued with Praveen Kumar's spirit, this series would still be alive and kicking. Not content with upwards of 40 overs in every other innings, Kumar has regularly shown his top-order colleagues how to wield the willow with maximum effect. Today's slugfest was typical of the man, as he swung through the line to make 40 from 18 balls - and all that with a squelched thumb courtesy of Anderson, a blow so painful he threw his helmet to the ground in disgust. After a bit of patching-up, however, he resumed his stance, and took his frustrations out on Swann, whom he clobbered for 17 runs in four balls - and four overs for 55 all told - including a massive six over long-on that landed in a pint of beer.
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