India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 1st day November 4, 2010

Patel's escape, and free-hits in Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff
Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between India and New Zealand in Ahmedabad

The face-saving drop of the day
Only a brave man would have called it a dropped chance. Virender Sehwag lashed one hard at Jeetan Patel and for a moment you feared for the bowler. The ball was screaming towards his face when Patel just about managed to get his hands in the way. The ball crashed into his palms and fell. Patel's family would have sighed in relief, some fans might have sighed in disappointment at the drop, and cosmetic surgeons might have sighed at the loss of a potential customer.

Ouch. And the slap of the day
It was Motera. It felt like Mirpur. The ball, from Hamish Bennett, leaped from the middle of the track and Rahul Dravid started to go down. Like in Mirpur, he had misjudged the bounce. Like in Mirpur, he ducked straight into the ball. Unlike in Mirpur, this one crashed first into left shoulder before hitting the helmet. That strike on the shoulder, luckily for Dravid, had cushioned the blow. The next ball was another bouncer but well outside off; Dravid let it go. The follow-up delivery, too, was a gentler bouncer. Blink. The ball was picked from the midwicket boundary.

The smile of the day
Batsmen usually are slightly disappointed when they get close to 200 and are dismissed. Not Sehwag. He put his arm around his runner Gautam Gambhir's shoulder, shared a joke or two and was seen laughing as he walked off. Did it get tough to focus for so long on this pitch and against an easy attack? "Yes, it can happen sometimes. I was losing focus after tea. I couldn't concentrate. The knee was also paining a bit (hence the runner) and I thought let me go for a few shots and get some quick runs before I get out."

The signal of the day
When Chris Martin bowled a no-ball in the first session, Sehwag signalled a free-hit. It isn't there in Test cricket but he later said, "We should enjoy Test cricket also. After my signal everybody laughed and we got ready for the next ball." He whacked the next delivery to the boundary of course.