India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 4th day November 7, 2010

Laxman's escape and Williamson's smile

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

The escape of the day
The clock had just ticked past 4 pm when it happened. Jeetan Patel flighted one well outside the off stump, and VVS Laxman went down on his knee to drag it to the on side with a slog-sweep. The ball flew towards square-leg, where Tim McIntosh jumped. So did Patel, in anticipation of the catch. Laxman's heart would have skipped a beat, but the ball flew just out of McIntosh's reach. Laxman was on 19 then, and India 49 for 5. If he goes on to play yet another one of his special Test-saving knocks tomorrow, New Zealand might look back at this little episode.

The smile of the day
When Kane Williamson became the youngest New Zealander to get a hundred on debut, you expected him to jump for joy. To pump a fist; perhaps even beat his chest. He did nothing. He simply removed his helmet and flashed a shy smile. It was his captain who was left to show some emotion: Daniel Vettori put his arms around the kid's shoulder, hugged him, and patted on his back.

The first simple dismissal of the day
2010 is turning out to be Gautam Gambhir's annus horribilis. He averages 24.41 from seven games this year, and is fast becoming a walking wicket. Today, he left his first two deliveries alone outside off, but had a fatal poke at the third one. It's an old failing. He was considered to be iffy outside off early in his career, a flaw he had corrected, but the habit seems to have returned.

The second simple dismissal of the day
Suresh Raina must have been thinking about the bouncer because his feet were deep in the crease when Chris Martin bowled a full delivery. The ball swung away from Raina as he shaped to play to the left of the bowler. Edged and gone!

The blow of the day
Sachin Tendulkar drove a length delivery past mid-off and that must have given him the confidence to go for a similar shot a few balls later. This one, though, swung in more even as Tendulkar shaped to drive it through extra cover. The ball darted towards the bat-pad gap, taking the inside edge, before crashing in to the stumps.

The quote of the day
It came from Dhiraj Parsana. He has been copping heat for the last three and a half days over the state of the pitch. He must have thought the press, and perhaps even his own association, was going to bury him under a mound of criticism. Then Chris Martin happened. At the tea break, Parsana sauntered over to couple of journalists and said, "Dekha?! [Did you see?] What did I tell you? If you bend your back, there will be something in the pitch."