ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Ponting's spat and Surkari's two-ball pain

Plays of the day from Australia's comfortable victory over Canada

Brydon Coverdale and Sriram Veera at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

March 16, 2011

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Shaun Tait checks on Zubin Surkari after he was hit by a short ball, Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup, Bangalore, March 16, 2011
Shaun Tait's pat on the back was no comfort for Zubin Surkari © AFP
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Dummy-spit of the day
The first piece of advice any cricketer should learn is that when the captain talks, you listen. And when the captain shouts, ignore him at your peril. Steven Smith didn't heed that suggestion when he ran around from mid-on and Ricky Ponting was moving from mid-off to get under a skied catch struck by Harvir Baidwan. Ponting called for the take and moved into position, but Smith kept coming and the pair collided, although Ponting still managed to make the catch. But immediately he hurled the ball into the turf and walked away from Smith, not celebrating with the rest of his team-mates. "I had a chat to Smithy about it and I think we both actually called for it at exactly the same time," Ponting said later. "I was probably a bit more disappointed that a few of the other guys didn't yell out and make it clear that it was my catch. It wasn't a great reaction ... if it looked bad then I apologise for it."

Eye-watering moment of the day
Zubin Surkari might never play another World Cup match, and he'll certainly remember his last two, ahem, balls. Facing Shaun Tait must be a daunting enough experience for some of the Associate batsmen, and when Surkari saw a 146kph full toss searing towards his groin, he might have wished he'd chosen another profession. The ball smashed into Surkari's inner thigh and he collapsed in heap, writhing in pain as Tait came up and apologised. After a few minutes of recovery time, Surkari bravely got back up and batted on, but in the ultimate case of being softened up, he lost his middle stump next delivery as Tait went fast and full, and Surkari inside-edged his attempted drive.

Shot of the day, mark I
Hiral Patel didn't have any such worries against Tait. In the third over of the match, Patel launched the most audacious slap over cover and struck the ball so cleanly that it easily cleared the boundary. And if Tait thought things were going to get any easier once Patel was out, he was wrong. Ashish Bagai, the captain, provided another contender for the shot of the day when he drove a Tait half-volley back over the bowler's head with magnificent timing, although it bounced just short of clearing the boundary.

Shot of the day, mark II
Take your pick. Shane Watson hit four sixes in 14 balls as Australia's chase accelerated, and they just seemed to get bigger and bigger. A slog-sweep off Balaji Rao went 94 metres, and a similar shot later in the same over went 99 metres. But in the next over, Watson went 104 metres over long-on with a lofted drive off John Davison that was the biggest six of the tournament so far. The next one was only 85 metres, but the crowd still seemed to enjoy it.

Miss of the day I
Balaji Rao had a deep midwicket placed for Shane Watson. The ego-trap was simple: If you dare, go over the fielder's head. The ball was sufficiently short to warrant a pull and turned just a tad bit to make the timing go awry. Watson went for it and seemed a goner as Nitish Kumar ran to his right at deep midwicket but he suddenly lost the plot. Perhaps blinded by the floodlights, he just gave up the catch when he had almost reached the ball. The camera panned to Balaji who went, "what the ..."

Miss of the day II
Fat men hardly get any luck on most days and the portly Balaji was twice unlucky today. He delivered a ripper that drifted towards leg and middle before turning and bouncing right across an ugly slog sweep from Brad Haddin. Alas, Ashish Bagai, a fabulous keeper, chose that very moment to slip up for probably the first time this tournament. He couldn't adjust to the extra bounce and broke the stumps without the ball in his gloves. Haddin's back foot was not inside the line and for a moment it seemed that the ball landed on the stumps but it wasn't sure whether the bails came off in time. Balaji was taken off the attack and returned later for an over, only to be walloped for two sixes by Watson.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor and Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Philip on (March 17, 2011, 14:11 GMT)

A lot of young blokes playing at the highest levels today have gotten way too much praise for their current level of achievement. A rollocking from the captain is, therefore, possibly character-forming. So, the whole incident may have been silly, but some good may come of it anyway.

Posted by John on (March 16, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

Ponting definitely needs to chill.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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