England v India, 4th npower Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 20, 2011

Sreesanth's steely stare, Raina's unwanted record

ESPNcricinfo's Plays of the Day from the third day of the fourth Test between England and India at The Oval

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.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Oh, the travails of the Indian supporters; blame the Indian team, and English fans say " Why don't you praise the English players?". Praise the Englishmen, only to face a barrage of comments from other sub-continental fans who all subscibe to the ABI school ( Anyone but India) deriding us for lauding the English and pointing out that their respective teams have fared much better. Guess it's best to keep quiet and hope for a distant dawn. By the way, the Sri Lankans are not doing all that well in the home ODI series against Australia, are they ?

  • Mark on August 21, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    Dolce, interesting point. Pity that cicket is played in reality and not in fantasy, because England actually won the last ODI series between the two sides in England,at a time when the ODI side was significantly weaker than it is today.

  • Anto on August 21, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    @cricsteveway: can tell you one thing, see when did raina came to bat? after fall of lax and sachin, so pressure was there on him, he's young and still learning. the most experienced in the world and used to call God of cricket is getting out like a school boy, why are you blaming raina? have you ever seen an Indian batsmen/bowler giving tips during batting/boweling? as a team they are failed. i'd say this guys should retire, so we can groom sharmas/pujaras/badris/rainas/kohlis and more.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    someone truely said...... the series has become.... ENGLAND VS DRAVID :)

  • Chinnappa on August 21, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Raina unfit to play test matches or even ODIs. Raina good enough only for IPL. Raina has support of Dhoni a lot. Kohli has better technique and mindset than Raina. We should stop hoping a lot on Sehwag as he can dominate only when he gets lucky with his natural strokes. Tendulkar is out there just to make some more records like 100th hundred and similar record as ODI. Tendulkar can retire in tests and play only ODIs as his body and mindset may not help him to play cricket longer these days. As rightly said by some of you Indian team under Dhoni has shifted gear to 20-20 format and remaining in that from some time. Most of the players including Dhoni are good for 20-20. Dhoni himself cannot play a test innings like a test cricketer. Even he can score only like limited overs cricket if he doesnt get out to a good ball. So it is to with the mindset and the preparation that these Indian players have towards test cricket. Probably they want to play quickly get out of the ground to relax

  • crik on August 21, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Raina is like Bevan. He playes well in tight situation, but he doesn't play w/out fear. I could not understand why Raina failed even after he practiced in WI. Raina and Kohli should anchor #3 & #4 spots for the next decade. Dhoni better surrender gloves and play #5 and he will make a solid middle order. After wicket keeping he loses energy and plays lousy. Dhoni is so solid like Sangakkara or Gilchrist but he must follow Sanga in tests not to play dual roles.

  • Andrew on August 21, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    India have been found wanting, the attitude is pretty poor & the results worse. I am very interested to see what the wash up of this series will be. Can't believe Rahul Dravid's lone hand in this series. I've been thinking for about 3 years he was way past his best. The rest should hang their head in shame. BTW - SRT missed a golden opportunity to 'do the right thing' & bat @ #3 for the FIRST time in his Test career. Instead VVS had to. I think that was poor from the great man, (given Dravid & VVS were prepared to put their hand up). As an Ozzy I've tended to fear VVS more than any other Indian batsmen (with good reason), I think he is probably either about to be dropped or retire or be told that the Oz tour is his last!

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    @ wiseshah: Then England's test status should be taken long before when they were hammered by Aussies 5-0 in 2006 Ashes......Surely England will receive 5-0 hammering in ODIs.....so will it be right to take away England's ODI status.....????

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    I just wonder how come all department failed collectively in all matches? Juts one man is shining that is RD & all his efforts are going into vain

  • Ryan on August 21, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    @Bala Ca oh that is just gold! Haha!

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