India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 1st day November 22, 2011

Plenty of spills

S Aga
Plays of the day for the first day of the third Test between India and West Indies in Mumbai

Spills of the day
With the pitch offering true bounce, R Ashwin kept the West Indies openers in check. Though both Kraigg Brathwaite and Adrian Barath showed admirable patience in defence in the first two sessions, Ashwin never made it easy. Unlucky for him, VVS Laxman, one of the safest catches, let off Braithwaite twice. The first chance came when the batsman was on 36 and was slow responding to a sharp offbreak that trickled past the inside edge of Braithwaite's bat towards the feet of Laxman at backward short leg. Laxman was slow to respond as the ball raced past him. Then when he was on 56, Braithwaite was beaten once again by Ashwin's turn. This time the ball sailed towards Laxman's right hand but he reacted quickly and the ball deflected off his hand.

Laxman wasn't the only culprit. Rahul Dravid, the man with the most number of Test catches, was at first slip when Darren Bravo, on 33, was beaten by the straighter delivery from Pragyan Ojha at the start of the final hour of day. Attempting to push in front of square, Bravo's thick edge went straight to Dravid at first slip. Dravid was in a good position, with both hands cupped, but the ball hit his thumb, allowing Bravo to escape.

Shot of the day
At the stroke of tea and new to the crease, Darren Bravo could have been forgiven some circumspection. But when Virender Sehwag dropped one short outside off stump, he rocked back and stroked the ball through the covers for four. On a sluggish outfield, the timing caught the eye, as did the placement, with the ball neatly bisecting mid-off and the deep fielder.

Ball of the day
Having been slapped with one of the shots of the day (a powerful on-drive along the ground) by Kirk Edwards in his previous over, Ashwin responded by delivering from closer to the stumps. With his high-arm action he delivered a faster off-break, which pitched outside off stump, cut sharply past the forward defence of Edwards' limp bat, before hitting the thigh pad and sailing over the stumps. It was a near miss and Ashwin and India could not believe the best ball of the day had not bought a wicket.

Bravo fumes, then celebrates
Bravo reached his half-century with an outside edge against Ishant Sharma, which zipped between the two-slip cordon and the Virender Sehwag at gully for a four. Instantly, Bravo whipped his bat in disgust as he realised he could've easily left alone the second new ball. Few moments later, the highest run-maker in the series, raised his bat to celebrate the fifty and stay alive till stumps.

The last ball before morning drinks was tucked off the pads by Brathwaite. Barath's interest in a second run wasn't reciprocated and as he turned back to ground his bat, MS Dhoni ran to collect the throw and took him out as the momentum carried him forward. A winded Barath had to be helped to his feet.