India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali, 4th day

Billy's slowness and Gambhir's agony

Plays of the day from the fourth day of the first Test between India and Australia in Mohali

Sidharth Monga in Mohali

October 4, 2010

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Zaheer Khan exults after dismissing Nathan Hauritz, India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali, 4th day, October 4, 2010
The bail that refused to fall did not deter Zaheer Khan for too long © AFP
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The slow decision
Billy Bowden laughs in the face of the basic umpiring principle, that of staying inconspicuous. Add to his other antics this new-found habit of calling no-balls excruciatingly late. He did so today when Ishant Sharma got Michael Clarke first ball and was almost done celebrating. Bowden belatedly asked Clarke to wait, and discussed the nuances of Ishant's landing with the third umpire. Amid utter chaos, he declared Clarke not out. Somebody please tell him to not do this at Indian grounds where the public information system is so dismal that people get to know of such complications only when they go home and watch news channels. TV channels and mobile service providers won't be complaining, though.

The blow
Gautam Gambhir will want to forget the day. During the first drinks break, he got some treatment on his knee cap. Soon, though, when he was fielding at forward short leg, Michael Hussey swept mightily into the back of his leg, sending him off the field. The ball almost ricocheted for a catch, though, but there was to be no saving grace for Gambhir. Even Bowden contributed to his bad day, giving him out lbw when he had hit the ball.

The forgotten howler
With the Gambhir decision dominating discussions at the end of the day, the other umpiring howler is likely to be forgotten. Just for the record, Hussey was given lbw to an offbreak that was hitting the stumps, and hence likely to have pitched outside leg. The replays confirmed the fears.

The substitute
Cheteshwar Pujara is not likely to get a game in this series, but he made his presence felt when substituting for one of the three struggling players in the side. The side is so struggling with fitness it is difficult to ascertain who is on for whom. Without digressing, though, Pujara took a superb reflex catch to dismiss Tim Paine, who had defended one almost off the middle of the bat. Pujara was in the natural motion of getting up when he went back down and plucked it one-handed off his boot laces.

The sticky moment
In the 55th over of the Australian innings, Zaheer Khan bowled a near-perfect delivery to Ben Hilfenhaus, angling it in from round the stumps, getting it to move away, and brushing the top of off. Except the bail wouldn't come off. Zaheer, though, made up for it with two deliveries too good for the tail, shattering Nathan Hauritz's off stump with another reversing delivery, and Hilfenhaus's middle with a yorker. The last was his 250th Test wicket.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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