India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali, 1st day October 1, 2010

Watson's fortune and Ishant's nightmare

Plays of the day from the first day of the first Test between India and Australia in Mohali
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The reprieve(s)
You don't expect to be so lucky on second ball of the day after the opposition has won the toss. Perhaps Virender Sehwag wasn't expecting to when he dropped a simplish overhead catch from Shane Watson at gully. MS Dhoni, too, did Watson a favour, when on 37, dropping a thin edge off Pragyan Ojha. The beneficiary is yet to get out.

The sixth sense
When Simon Katich shuffled too far across, and was hit in front by a Zaheer Khan delivery that swung in towards middle, Katich must have known he was adjacent. For, he didn't even look up at the umpire. He just looked down, moved a bit towards leg, heard the happy noise from the small crowd, and walked off.

The plan that almost worked
In the 10th over, Dhoni moved Sachin Tendulkar to a three-fourths deep square leg presumably for the Ricky Ponting pull. In the same over, Ponting fell over while clipping one off the pads, and ended up hitting the ball squarer and in the air. Tendulkar could have risked a boundary going for it, but he chose to play it safe. Silence all around. Not a single angry or questioning look from any of the team-mates.

The Sami tribute over
Mohammad Sami, the holder of the record for the longest over in international cricket, would have watched in hope when Ishant Sharma started the 13th over of the day with two no-balls, and didn't quite seem to be able to get around the problem. Later in the same over, to rub it in, Ricky Ponting nicked one of those no-balls down the leg side. If that wasn't slat enough already, Watson hit him for back-to-back boundaries. Sadly, though, for Sami the over finished with 10 deliveries, seven short of his record. Better luck next time.

The misjudgement
On a pitch with low bounce, and with the ball reversing madly, you need to be very brave to leave alone a delivery, no matter how wide or how short. Marcus North tempted fate when he did so in the 85th over, and almost lived to tell the tale. The ball swung back viciously, but managed to stealthily kiss the top of off on its way to Dhoni. The touch was so soft the ball hardly deviated, and accordingly Zaheer had hands on his head... until Dhoni pointed to the bail that belatedly came out of its groove. Joy to the reverse-swing bowlers.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo