Plays of the Day July 20, 2007

The chainsaw massacre

Dileep Premachandran reviews the Plays of the Day on day two of the first Test between England and India at Lord's



Start up the chainsaw, I'm ready for a massacre © Getty Images

The Kerala Chainsaw strikes: After taking his time to get used to the Lord's slope on Thursday, Sreesanth was quickly into his groove with the second new ball. Pitching the ball up and swinging it late, he got all three wickets leg before. The celebrations after each were similar to a man trying to start a lawnmower. But since those aren't really to be found in Kerala, we'll assume that it was a good old chainsaw at work.

Out, In Like Flynn and Out Again: There have been some bizarre dismissals down the years, but few batsmen could have been given out twice in three balls in the same innings. It happened to Kevin Pietersen in the afternoon, with Simon Taufel declaring him out even though Mahendra Singh Dhoni had dived and taken the edge on the bounce. The Indians were miffed when Pietersen was allowed to return to the crease, after his trudge to the pavilion ended with team-mates alerting him from the balcony. Zaheer Khan wouldn't be denied though, and a beautiful delivery slanting away from the batsman sent him back minutes later. This time, there were no comebacks.

Ball of the day - Jimmy's time: James Anderson was identified as the future of English pace bowling five years ago, but since then, others have left him several rungs behind on the ladder of success. With England's first-choice pace trio all missing through injury, this was his chance, and he seized it with impeccable swing bowling. The best moment? The nearly unplayable delivery that pitched on middle stump and shaped away to graze the edge of Rahul Dravid's bat.

Did the Earth move?: The game was meandering in the late-evening sunshine, with batsmen strokeless and bowlers content to keep it tight when Chris Tremlett got one to rear sharply at Wasim Jaffer. When the ball lobbed back in his direction, Tremlett, a young man built like a rugby No.8 threw himself forward to take the ball at full stretch an inch from the ground. For India, it was a seismic blow.

These drops are contagious: It was a wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, fielding at point that dropped a clanger yesterday. On Friday, it was Matt Prior's turn, diving across in front of slip to palm the ball away after Jaffer had edged one from Ryan Sidebottom. Jaffer was yet to score at the time.

A touch of class: Lord's may not have the atmosphere of the MCG or Eden Gardens, but the punters that come through the turnstiles are usually discerning ones. When Sachin Tendulkar walked out, in what will surely be his last Test appearance at this venue, a large number of fans who had braved the morning showers rose as one to applaud him. There are times that call for partisanship, but this was a moment to fail the Tebbitt Test and acknowledge one of the game's all-time greats.

Dileep Premachandran is associate editor of Cricinfo