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ESPNcricinfo's Plays of the Day from the third day of the fourth Test between England and India at The Oval
August 20, 2011
Cameo of the day
Virender Sehwag's tour is heading from bad to worse - and that's quite a feat seeing as he already has a king pair to his name. On the first morning of the match his participation had been the subject of intense speculation, but right at this moment, it's hard to believe India could be any worse off without him. At Edgbaston he gifted his second-innings wicket with a loose drive to James Anderson, so Sehwag started his third attempt in a more circumspect fashion - at least by his standards. Two consecutive leaves outside off were enough to gauge the pace of the wicket, and he followed up with back-to-back boundaries through point, as his series runs tally (eight) briefly exceeded his balls faced (six). But one more dot was as much as he could negotiate. Anderson's final ball was fuller and straighter, and a crease-bound Sehwag was nailed plumb in front.
Hit of the day
At the end of the fourth over, Sachin Tendulkar arrived at the crease to a familiar cocktail of calamity and acclaim. The ground rose as one to salute a man still questing for that elusive 100th hundred, but at the seventh time of asking, the effect was not quite as electric as it most certainly had been at Lord's. It was another groggy start from the great man as well, as Stuart Broad restricted him to a maiden first-up, before clanging him on the helmet with his fourth delivery of the second over. It was quite a strike as well, as Tendulkar bent forward and met the ball on the rise, but he quickly confirmed there was no lasting damage. A grin and a pause later, and Tendulkar eased his next delivery, from Broad, through long-on for his first boundary of the day.
Fail of the day
At Edgbaston it had been Ravi Bopara who suffered the consequences of pad rash, as he came to the crease at 596 for 4, and added just 7 to the equation. Today it was the turn of Eoin Morgan, who turned down the chance to enter the fray on Friday night, and instead had to wait until 480 for 4, when the nightwatchman Anderson had snicked Sreesanth to slip. Almost as soon as he appeared in the middle, the ECB confirmed via press release that he would be captaining England in an ODI against Ireland next week, but the excitement did little for his judgment outside off, as he snicked his tenth ball, from Sreesanth, and trudged off for 1.
Stare of the day
After his first four deliveries to Anderson, Sreesanth followed up with a mouthful. Anderson remained unruffled, clipping a fine on-drive for four. But Sreesanth, who had otherwise been moving the ball nicely away from the batsmen, finally got Anderson to play a full, outswinging delivery, which VVS Laxman snaffled at second slip. Anderson, teasingly, stood his ground for a fraction of a second, and for a moment Sreesanth thought of charging at his victim, but thankfully resisted the urge. Instead, he just stood there in the middle of the pitch, hands folded, fixing a prolonged steely stare at the outgoing Anderson.
Over of the day
It was Tim Bresnan's third. The batsman was Tendulkar. And for each of his six deliveries, the crowd was on edge. First up was a slightly fuller delivery on off stump, which Tendulkar played on the up, a risky airy drive, which zipped past Bresnan before his left hand could respond to intercept it. He pushed the second delivery safely into the off side, then misjudged the bounce and was hit on the body by the third. The fourth brought a loud bellow for lbw but the ball was sliding down, while the fifth shaped away and beat Tendulkar's outside edge. But after all that, Tendulkar briefly released the tension of his innings, as he thwacked a solid square cut for four as Bresnan pitched it wide of off.
Duck of the day
Suresh Raina has flushed his Test reputation down the pan in this series. A feisty 78 in the second innings at Lord's has been offset by 27 runs in his other six innings. His susceptibility to the short ball was exposed at Trent Bridge, but today it was the spin of Graeme Swann that tied him in knots, as he equalled Irfan Pathan's record for the longest duck in India's Test history. It was strung out for 29 deliveries, all but seven of which were delivered by Swann with a forest of close catchers at hand. Eventually he was beaten by a ripper past the edge, and Matt Prior whipped off the bails with Raina's back foot flapping for the crease. The decision from Steve Davis was tight but fair. And one of the most painful passages of a grim Indian summer had been concluded.
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