India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day December 7, 2012

Ishant's bad hair day

Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test between India and England at Eden Gardens

Variation of the day
India started well on the third morning. With the pitch still offering them little, they instead concentrated on control and building pressure. It was 11 overs before England, through Alastair Cook, hit a boundary and Jonathan Trott did not manage one until the 15th over of the day. But as soon as R Ashwin produced his carrom ball, the one that spins away from the bat, it released the pressure. Trott, reading it early, leant into a cover drive and helped it with the spin to the boundary. Four more boundaries followed in the next three overs and any hope India had of preventing a large first innings deficit were gone.

Drop of the day
When Ishant Sharma is an old man, he will still wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat about his dropped catch on the third day here. Sharma, producing a delivery that pitched just back of a length and appeared to stop a little, finally induced a false shot from Cook as the England captain prodded a simple chance back at the bowler. It was as easy a chance as Sharma can have be offered at this level but, somehow, he managed to put it down. Might Sharma's long hair have obscured his view? Cook, who was also dropped the previous day on 17, was on 156 at the time and England were 273-1.

Dismissal of the day
With Cook looking solid - he has batted for 26 hours and three minutes so far this series - and India's catching far from convincing, that India would have to run him out looked increasingly likely. They did just that, but in strange fashion, especially considering that it was the first time that Cook had been run out in 312 first-class innings. Zaheer Khan bowled to Kevin Pietersen, who clipped the ball towards square leg from where Virat Kohli's good, hard throw struck direct at the non-strikers' end. Cook, having left his ground to back up, was on the verge of grounding his bat but, in an attempt to avoid the throw, took a step back down the pitch. The umpires, after checking that Cook had not grounded his bat at any stage, soon adjudged him out. Law 38 (2a) states that a batsman will only be reprieved if "he has been within his ground and has subsequently left it to avoid injury, when the wicket is put down."

Near miss of the day
India's most damaging near miss came in the early moments of Pietersen's innings. MS Dhoni, hoping to take advantage of Pietersen's reputation of uncertainly against left-arm spin and Yuvraj Singh in particular (Yuvraj counts Pietersen as one of his nine Tests wickets and had dismissed him four times in ODIs), soon introduced Yuvraj into the attack. The plan almost worked first ball. Pietersen, on one, attempted to cut a rank wide ball but could only bottom edge the stroke perilously close to his stumps. He survived to score another 50, increasing England's run-rate and lead in the process.

Catch of the day
It took remarkable reflexes from Virender Sehwag to end Samit Patel's innings. Patel, attempting to cut a short one that turned and bounced sharply from the left-arm spin of Ojha, could only get a thick edge on the ball. Sehwag, at first slip, stuck out his right hand sharply, parried the ball into the air and completed an impressive catch. The wicket must have provoked mixed emotions for India, though. Not only did it suggest the pitch was starting to deteriorate quite markedly, but it underlined the folly of Sehwag not being in the slips on the second day when Cook, in 17, was put down by Pujara.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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