Plays of the Day July 29, 2007

United abominations

Dileep Premachandran comes up with the plays of the third day of the Trent Bridge Test between England and India



Sourav Ganguly walks off, clearly without happy thoughts about Simon Taufel © Getty Images

Eyes wide shut: After stroking a lovely boundary through point, Sourav Ganguly must have sensed what would follow. Even then, he was caught unawares by Chris Tremlett's bouncer. His eyes were already shying away from the ball and the body was in a bit of a tangle but the bat instinctively swung across for the hook. The contact was nearly perfect, and carried the ball well over the rope at square leg.

Eyes wide shut - part deux: He may have been rated the ICC's best umpire the past three years, but Simon Taufel had a distinctly average Sunday. First, the Sachin Tendulkar leg before with the ball missing even the fourth stump, and then a real shocker to send Ganguly packing. These days, players get fined for showing displeasure at decisions, but you had to feel some sympathy for Ganguly as he walked off mouthing a couple of words that can't be printed.

Legspin and all that: Nasser Hussain had some withering things to say on air about Sreesanth's preparation, which apparently involved legspin bowling in the nets. The older players have managed fine without a coach to guide them but Sreesanth, eccentric at the best of times, seems to be struggling without a knowing voice in the ear. Zaheer Khan and RP Singh have both outbowled him in this series, and he needs to get his act together quickly. Abandoning legspin would be a start.

Just like old times: For most of his innings, Tendulkar played with a great deal of circumspection. There was little similarity to the batsman who dominated the attack here 11 years ago for 177. But when Monty Panesar floated one up, he was down the track and driving on the up over mid-off, a glorious stroke that reprised the glory days.

Drip drip drip: Ryan Sidebottom was relentless in the morning, shaping ball after ball away from Tendulkar's bat without the merest hint of luck. While those that bowled far worse got wickets, or were gifted them, Sidebottom toiled away patiently. Reward came with a reckless swish from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and a routine catch for Matt Prior. Figures of 1 for 75 don't really reveal how well he bowled.

The ultimate pro: With the sun having beaten down all day, Anil Kumble could certainly be a factor in the latter stages of this match. On Sunday, he did his bit with the bat, first stodgily and then with a dash of flair, smacking Monty down to the midwicket boundary on one occasion. If everyone else in the team had his work ethic and dedication, India wouldn't be a mid-ranking side.

Dileep Premachandran is associate editor of Cricinfo