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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the first day of the second Test in Mumbai
George Dobell in Mumbai
November 23, 2012
Milestone of the day
Virender Sehwag's selection rendered him the 54th man - and the ninth Indian - to reach 100 Test caps. That an opening batsmen could have a strike-rate above 80 for such a long career would have seemed incredible 30 years ago; that he can do so while averaging more than 50 underlines Sehwag's remarkable success and impact upon the game. He features five times in the top-ten list of the fastest Test double-centuries (in terms of balls received), twice in the top three of the fastest triple-centuries and only two men have struck more sixes and seven men more fours in their Test careers. He must be judged a great batsman by any standards.
Gamble of the day
Both teams took significant gambles with their team selection. India went into the game with three specialist spinners and just one seamer, suggesting they would have opened the bowling with a spinner had they lost the toss, while England selected Stuart Broad despite him missing training due to illness the day before the game. India's tactics were in marked contrast to the words of their captain the day before the game. MS Dhoni has said India were "looking at a 2-2 combination" as "you don't know whether you would bat or bowl first. Harbhajan Singh will have to wait for his chance as Ashwin and Ojha are bowling well." Gamble indeed.
Ball of the day
Perhaps he is not the force he was in the past, but it was Sachin Tendulkar's misfortune to be on the receiving end of an excellent ball from Monty Panesar. Delivered from round the wicket, drifting towards leg stump, but then pitching and turning sharply, it clipped the top of off as a groping Tendulkar was bowled for the fourth time in his last five Test innings. You have to go back to 2002, when he was bowled five times in six innings, to find a comparable period in his career. The harsh may criticise him for playing slightly across the line, but perhaps the concern should be more that, for the second innings in succession, he mis-read the flight. Maybe it is a sign of age; maybe it is a sign of low confidence but, in his last six Tests and nine innings, Tendulkar is now averaging just 16.11 with a highest score of 27. The silence that greeted his dismissal amply expressed the disappointment and, perhaps, the concern of his home crowd.
Drop of the day
Cheteshwar Pujara was on 60 when he was drawn forward by Panesar and, beaten by the turn, edged to second slip. James Anderson, who is rarely seen in the slips these days after some uncharacteristic mistakes in recent months, dived to his left but could only parry the ball down to third man. It was a tough chance and perhaps suggests that Anderson was slightly out of position: it appeared the ball may also have evaded Jonathan Trott at first slip. It was a tough chance but, bearing in mind that England had failed to dismiss Pujara in either innings in Ahmedabad and that he has only offered the toughest of chances to date in this series, it was the sort of moment that could define a relatively low-scoring game.
Near miss of the day
It looked as if Pujara had fallen just short of a second Test century in as many matches when he pulled a delivery from Graeme Swann only to see the ball bounce off the foot of Alastair Cook at short-leg and into the hands of midwicket. But replays suggested the ball had hit the ground as it hit Cook's foot so Pujara was reprieved and Swann, who thought he had just taken his 200th Test wicket, was forced to wait a little longer.
Ominous moment of the day
England would have been understandably delighted at reducing India to 119 for 5 on the first day. But they could be forgiven for wrestling with some unsettling thoughts even as they did so. As early as the first delivery of the 41st over, a delivery from Panesar exploded off the surface, caught the shoulder of Pujara's bat and looped towards point. The ball dropped safely to ground but, bearing in mind England's record against spin bowling and the anticipated deterioration of the pitch, and it might have been a moment that also caused some anxiety for the tourists.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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