England v South Africa, 3rd NatWest ODI, The Oval

Surprised and bamboozled

Plays of the Day from the second one-day international between England and South Africa at The Oval

George Dobell at The Oval

August 31, 2012

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Ravi Bopara and Jonathan Trott watch the big screen during an decision review, England v South Africa, 3rd NatWest ODI, The Oval, August 31, 2012
Ravi Bopara looks at the big screen as his unsuccessful review is adjudicated on © PA Photos
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Wicket of the Day
The gasp that went around The Oval when Hashim Amla was bowled was not just of delight, but surprise. Oval regulars have seen rather a lot of Amla this summer. After his unbeaten 311, he had eased his way to 43 and looked set for yet another match-winning contribution. But, finally, after 354 runs in international cricket at the ground this summer, Amla played half forward to one that nipped back and could only inside edge the ball on to his leg stump. It was not hard to understand Jade Dernbach's unbridled joy at taking the key wicket.

Ball of the Day
Dernbach has been accused of over using his slower ball but, when he gets it right, it really is a potent weapon. Here Dean Elgar's somewhat uncomfortable innings was ended after he was bamboozled by a ball from Dernbach that was delivered out of the back of the hand, pitched on a good length and gripped enough to beat the batsman's grope to hit off stump. Both the line, the length, the change of pace and the movement were masterfully executed.

Key moment of the Day
AB de Villiers looked in fine form, skipping down the pitch and clipping James Tredwell over midwicket on several occasions and looking well set for an important contribution. But then he tried a similar shot and picked out Ian Bell on the long-on boundary. On the surface it looked a clumsy stroke, but perhaps de Villiers felt obliged to force the pace due to the struggle that Dean Elgar was having at the other end. In the overs prior to the dismissal, de Villiers could be seen urging his partner on and, as South Africa stalled after a strong start, the captain seemed to feel the pressure of needing to force the run-rate.

Key moment of the Day 2
Jonathan Trott was on just 6 when, attempting to cut a delivery too close to him from Dale Steyn, he could only inside edge the ball just past his stumps and down to the fine-leg boundary for four. It could easily have bowled him. Instead Trott went on to score 71 and oversee England's successful run chase in partnership with the somewhat more dynamic Eoin Morgan. But without Trott's foundations, Morgan may not have been able to build his match-winning contribution and the moment of fortune against Steyn may well have been the crucial moment of the game.

Horrid shot of the Day
Alastair Cook, famously, hardly sweats. But when he is 70 he may still wake in a cold sweat in the middle of the night having had a nightmare about his dismissal here. Well set and compiling quietly but efficiently, he suddenly pulled an innocuous long hop from Robin Peterson straight down the throat of Dean Elgar at deep midwicket. It was a shot as out of character as it was ugly.

Review of the Day
You could call Ravi Bopara many things, but none of them would be 'lucky'. Here he was adjudged by umpire Kumar Dharmasena to have edged a delivery from Morne Morkel to the keeper but immediately utilised England's one DRS referral. The reviews provided no evidence of any Hot Spot mark on the bat or the pads, but there was audio evidence of a noise that was hard to explain any other way than the ball hitting the bat. For that reason, the third umpire, Simon Taufel, felt he could not overrule the on-field umpire and Bopara was forced to go. It was an incident that will do nothing to dissuade those who feel the technology remains inadequate to support a credible DRS.

Milestone of the Day
The wicket of Graeme Smith, bowled as he came down the wicket and tried to pull, gave James Anderson his 100th ODI wicket in England. Only Darren Gough, with 108, has more.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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