ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore

Easy as spit for O'Brien

The plays of the day from an epic contest between England and Ireland in Bangalore

Liam Brickhill in Bangalore

March 2, 2011

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John Mooney flings his bat in the air after securing a dream result with a boundary, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Ireland produced one of the most famous upsets of all time © Getty Images
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Injury scare of the day
His team-mates must have feared the worst when Kevin O'Brien stooped to field the ball after stopping a drive in the covers and, his left knee buckling underneath him, he fell to the ground, writhing in agony. O'Brien's booted foot had slipped on the grass, his knee wobbling and then clicking backwards in a stomach-churning movement that drew gasps of horror when it was replayed on the big screen. But after a tense couple of minutes and the attention of the team physio he was back up again - albeit with a little discomfort - and stayed on the field thereafter. And it didn't seem to affect his batting either ...

Blasé pose of the day
'If Sachin can do it, why can't I?' Kevin O'Brien may well have thought before heaving Graeme Swann over wide long-on for his second six in three balls to complete the 27th over. As the ball sailed over the rope O'Brien stepped away from the crease and stood left foot over right, leaning on the bat with his left hand and his right propped nonchalantly on his hip, and spat. It was a pose he repeated after each of his 19 boundaries in a 63-ball 113 that set up the most famous victory in Irish cricketing history.

Missed opportunity of the day
Kevin Pietersen's one-day century drought stretches all the way back to November 2008, but in conditions tailor-made for batting in Bangalore it looked as though the platform was set for him to break that lengthy run. He motored past fifty - his first as an England opener - against a relatively tame bowling attack on the flattest of tracks, and a ton looked like merely a matter of staying at the crease. But then came the brainfreeze as, to the third ball he faced from part-time offspinner Paul Stirling, he played the cutest, and most unnecessary, of reverse dabs to present wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien with the simplest of catches. The wait continues ...

Dropped catch of the day
'Which one?' you might reasonably ask. The damage had already pretty much been done when Gary Wilson spilled a chance at deep midwicket in the 49th over of England's innings but that was at least the only chance Ireland missed in the field all afternoon. England, whose fielding let Netherlands off the hook innumerable times in Nagpur, seemed to drop their guard against the similarly unfancied Irish and let no less than six chances go begging - the most costly being Andrew Strauss's valiant, but unsuccessful, effort off a Kevin O'Brien skier when the batsman had scored 91.

Unlikely milestone of the day
Perhaps it is the distraction of his absorbed, almost obsessive-compulsive manner at the crease, perhaps the machine-like efficiency of his batting that leaves no room for either flaw or flair, but for some reason Jonathan Trott's equalling of the record for the fastest batsman to 1,000 one-day runs - in just his 21st innings - seems an unlikely milestone for a batsmen initially thought to score too slowly to fit into England's limited-overs side. And yet with a deep-set whip to leg for two in the 37th over - could it have come any other way? - he drew level with the likes of Viv Richards and team-mate Kevin Pietersen.

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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