India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 3rd day March 24, 2013

The Maxwell surprise

Plays of the day from the third day of the Delhi Test between India and Australia

The surprise opener

When the Australians began their second innings, David Warner walked to the wicket but he didn't have Ed Cowan at his side. Instead, Glenn Maxwell was promoted to open the innings, presumably in an attempt to score quick runs and build their lead as fast as possible. In his previous 16 first-class matches the highest Maxwell had ever batted was No.5. The experiment didn't work for Australia on this occasion as Maxwell was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 8.

The surprise opener again
It was not surprising that Nathan Lyon took the new ball in India's chase, given the success he had in the first innings. But instead of pace from the other end, Shane Watson asked Maxwell to share the new ball, only the third time that Australia had ever opened with spin from both ends in a Test match. Maxwell also became the first Australian in 84 years to open the batting and bowling in the same Test match, since Percy Hornibrook did so in 1929.

The hat-trick balls
Twice on the third day spinners found themselves on a hat-trick but both times they were denied. Ravindra Jadeja got rid of Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson from consecutive deliveries and had his chance for a hat-trick against Peter Siddle. There were three slips, a short-leg and a silly point, but Siddle safely pushed the ball through the off side for two runs. Nathan Lyon also had a chance at a hat-trick after finishing India's first innings with the wickets of Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha. Lyon bowled the first ball of the chase and it spun sharply down the leg side. M Vijay had come down the wicket and could have been stumped but it was a very difficult chance for Matthew Wade.

The drop
India seemed well and truly coasting towards victory at 123 for 1, but then they lost three wickets for five runs and if the Australians could get another couple, it could have been a tight finish. Unfortunately for Australia, that chance went begging when MS Dhoni, who was yet to score, edged behind off Nathan Lyon and was dropped by Matthew Wade. It was a regulation opportunity for Wade, whose glovework cost Lyon a few wickets over the home summer as well. This missed chance also denied Lyon the chance to take ten wickets for the match.

The tension
After a few terse words were traded on day two, there was the odd exchange between the two teams on the third day as well. As the players walked off for lunch, Virat Kohli and the Australian batsman Wade were caught up in a heated discussion and the umpire Aleem Dar quickly jogged across and put himself between the two men to ease the tension. After the break, Ishant Sharma gave James Pattinson quite a send-off when he bowled him. As the day wore on and an Indian victory became a formality, things calmed down considerably.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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