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August 21, 2011
Shot of the day
Amit Mishra walked in with a bat signed by Virender Sehwag during India's first innings. Now, Sehwag himself had made only eight runs, faced eight deliveries and bagged a king pair in his first three innings of the series. Either way it wouldn't have mattered to the England bowlers considering the way they have dominated the Indian batting through the series. But Mishra not only batted with gay abandon, usually a Sehwag trait, but also combined confidence with fluency to surprise the opposition. In his primary role as a legspinner he'd had a shocking time - 38-3-170-0 - but he left the Englishmen gaping when he charged Graeme Swann on the last ball before lunch, to hit the only six of the Indian innings high over long on.
Catch of the day
At the MCG in December 1998, Mark Ramprakash at square leg flung himself full-stretch to his right to intercept a pull from Justin Langer, and set England on their way to a highly improbable victory. The circumstances were somewhat different this time around, but Ian Bell's reactions were every bit as honed, as a valiant 43 from Mishra was brought to a spectacular ending. A short ball from Tim Bresnan got big on the pull, but Bell at short square leg had to watch the shot all the way off the bat, judge the miscued pace, and time his dive to perfection as the ball slapped his left palm, and nestled into his fingers as he fell to earth. A determined 87-run stand had been broken, and England's victory bid had taken a major leap forward.
Ball of the day
The shadows were lengthening and a small sense of satisfaction was spreading through the Indian camp. Despite another tough examination, they were inching towards the close with eight wickets still in hand and two of their big three in harness at the crease. But then, as so often this series, up popped James Anderson. At Trent Bridge he had produced a screamer to uproot VVS Laxman's off stump, and though this replica delivery wasn't quite in the same category, it proved far too good once again as it zipped off the deck and crashed into the top of off as a dazed Laxman stared forlornly down the track.
Onslaught of the day
Rahul Dravid is not by nature the most demonstrative of batsmen, but whenever Swann has been in his sights in this series, he has come out with a touch of the KPs. Dravid's handling of England's spinner has been nothing short of masterful, and today, with 14 runs needed for his hundred, he knew what he wanted to do. From the second ball of Swann's 20th over, he cleared his front leg and took on a brace of midwickets with a contemptuous slog-sweep. Two balls later, he rocked back on his heels and dabbed a delicious late cut through third man. Swann's fifth ball was flicked through the gap at midwicket for another four, and he completed his surge with a dab-and-dive single to move to 99. Tim Bresnan made him wait a further four balls for the moment, but when it came, he was celebrating almost before his followthrough was complete.
Milestone of the day
At half past three on Sunday, sections of the crowd rose for a standing ovation. Rahul Dravid had not reached the 150 mark. No England bowler had taken a wicket. Not even Sachin Tendulkar had made an appearance. Instead, when Dravid powerfully cut Tim Bresnan for a single, it was the first time India had managed to reach 300 runs in seven attempts this series. However, that was as good as their performance would get. The final two Indian wickets - RP Singh and Sreesanth - fell in the same over in quick succession in a span of three balls.
Tempo-setter of the day
First ball of the innings, following on. Sehwag facing James Anderson. You know something is going to happen - something untoward, something exciting. And lo and behold, Sehwag goes for a powerful backfoot punch, only for a thin bottom edge to slither past the off stump and away to the rope for four. A boundary first-up is usually a sign of good times to come for Sehwag, but rarely do such strokes draws monstrous gasps from the crowd.
Placard of the day
"England v Dravid, The Wall". Self-explanatory, isn't it?
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo; Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew Miller
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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