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ESPNcricinfo's Plays of the Day from the fifth day of the fourth Test between England and India at The Oval
August 22, 2011
Moment of the day
When Sachin Tendulkar is at the crease and going strong, it can sometimes feel as though destiny is shaping his fortunes. In the final Test innings of the summer, with his 100th international hundred up for grabs, and a wave of good fortune clearing his path, The Oval was on standby for instant history. England's failure to appeal for a stumping on 34 last night looked set to haunt them, as he was dropped by Cook at short leg and Prior behind the stumps, while also surviving two dicey lbws. But on 91, Tim Bresnan rapped his pads from wide of the crease, and after a dramatic pause, umpire Rod Tucker took a gutsy, some might say crazy, decision, and put up his finger. Replays showed that the ball would have grazed leg stump, so it could not have been overturned on review
Innings of the day
As Anil Kumble will testify, The Oval is a good surface for legspinners ... especially when they pick up a bat. Amit Mishra had a shocking time with the ball, returning figures of 0 for 170 which would surely have got worse had England not declared during the third-day rain break. But just as Kumble racked up his maiden Test hundred on this ground in 2007, so Mishra used the facilities to establish his unheralded second string. He provided doughty support to first Rahul Dravid in the first innings, and then Sachin Tendulkar in the second, as India gathered their composure and batted through to lunch without a wicket to raise the prospect of avoiding defeat. His 84 was a proper batsman's knock.
Duck of the day
Suresh Raina, on the other hand, has shrivelled as a batsman in the course of this series. His uncomplicated offspin has provided the sort of breakthroughs that Mishra's failed to make, but the solidity of his second-innings 78 at Lord's now belongs to another era. Today he prodded and poked his way to a 13-ball duck, having hung around for 29 balls without getting off the mark, meaning that his 42-ball pair slots in as the fourth-longest in Test history, behind Mike Whitney, Iain O'Brien and Manjural Islam. The end, when it came, was unlucky, as he was adjudged lbw despite an inside-edge. But all complaints about that should be directed to the BCCI. Besides, it never looked like making a difference.
Drop of the day
Tendulkar was on 70. He was getting more confident by the minute. But Graeme Swann was threatening too, extracting extravagant turn from the fifth day surface and often beating the bat. In that mood he dipped one into Tendulkar, who propped forward to defend. The resultant bat-and-pad flew towards Cook at short leg. It was a regulation catch, but Cook was on the rise and slightly off balanced as the ball rushed into the inside of his right elbow, then into his chest before popping out. A desperate Cook, falling backwards, tried to hold on to the rebound, but failed. Swann was aghast. Andrew Strauss, at slip, turned back, holding his forehead, disappointed.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo; Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew Miller
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