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Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai
February 25, 2013
The return of the opener
Shane Watson has made no secret of his desire to return to the opening position at some point and he got his wish in the second innings. David Warner was suffering from a bout of gastro, so Watson accompanied Ed Cowan to the middle to face the new ball when Australia's innings began. Watson prefers facing pace than spin, which is one of the reasons he enjoys opening, but unfortunately for him the pitch was so devoid of assistance for the fast men that India opened with spin from both ends. Watson put away a couple of boundaries - a six and a four - but perished on the last ball before lunch when he pushed forward at a ball that dropped on him and his edge lobbed to slip.
The second spinner
Whether Australia choose to alter the balance of their attack for the second Test in Hyderabad remains to be seen. The second specialist spinner in the squad, Xavier Doherty, was out in the middle of the MA Chidambaram Stadium at lunch, bowling at a single stump in the ground on one of the pitches on the edge of the wicket square. At one point, Doherty hit the one stump with five consecutive deliveries. Of course, it's much easier when MS Dhoni isn't there to belt the ball out of the ground, but all the same it was an impressive party trick.
The nastiest ball
For a while it looked like Phillip Hughes had been on the end of the trickiest delivery of the day, a spitting Ravindra Jadeja ball that bounced sharply and caught his edge. But that was surpassed later by the R Ashwin delivery that got rid of Michael Clarke, a ripping offbreak that pitched in the rough well outside off and kept fiendishly low. Clarke was rocking back to attempt a cut, but the turn and lack of bounce was so severe that his bat got nowhere near the ball, and he was struck in line and ruled lbw.
Australia didn't inflict many blows on India on the fourth day but Matthew Wade briefly landed one. He launched a big sweep off the bowling of Jadeja and it struck the short leg fielder Cheteshwar Pujara flush on the helmet. But they make helmets strong these days and Pujara showed no signs of pain and quickly resumed his position for the next ball. With so many fielders hovering around the bat throughout the innings, it was bound to happen at some point.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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