India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day

Sammy's gift and the real winner

Plays of the Day for the fifth day of the third Test between India and West Indies in Mumbai

N Hunter

November 26, 2011

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MS Dhoni stumps Marlon Samuels, India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day, November 26, 2011
Marlon Samuels gave it away with a blind charge © AFP
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The silly act
There were quite a few inexplicable mistakes committed by the West Indies batsmen but none as silly as the one from Marlon Samuels. It was only his third delivery. Pragyan Ojha had already accounted for Darren Bravo off the first ball of the over. India were in a hurry to bat again and Samuels had no reason to give Ojha the charge, but he did. Ojha cleverly pitched on off stump and made the ball turn away. Samuels was deceived completely and MS Dhoni knocked off the bails.

The dropped catch
Ravi Rampaul bowled a length ball to Virender Sehwag, who played from his crease, trying to hit straight over the umpire's head. The drive did not have enough momentum, though, and the ball went in the air towards Rampaul and bounced off his wrist. Rampaul could not believe it and covered his face with both hands. In the first Test in Delhi as well, Rampaul had failed to grasp a return catch from Sehwag. Today, Sehwag was on 6 and India were 17 for 0. By the time he was dismissed for 60, India were scoring at a rate of more than five an over and needed only 142 from 44.5 overs.

The reverse-paddle
With runs coming quickly, Devendra Bishoo opted to bowl from round the stumps to try and restrict Sehwag, who opened his stance slightly to counter the changed line. Sehwag went for a premeditated reverse-paddle of the first such delivery. The ball, a full toss, took the leading edge before floating into the hands of Darren Sammy at short fine leg. Sammy had given Sehwag his third reprieve earlier but this time he took the catch safely. Sehwag went down on one knee, embraced his bat like a child who had committed a mistake, and walked back hugging it.

The gift
India needed 12 runs off 19 deliveries. Rampaul had kept Ishant Sharma in check for four balls. Ishant pushed the final ball of the over towards cover and rushed for a tight single. Sammy, the fielder, had been getting treatment through the afternoon for a leg strain. His throw at the striker's end could have found Ashwin short but he missed by some margin and also conceded an overthrow, which kept Ashwin on strike for the next over. An annoyed Rampaul could only stare at his captain.

The winner …
… was the Mumbai crowd. They came out in large numbers on all five days, peaking on the third and the fourth, when the figures crossed the 20,000-mark. Today around 18,000 people turned up. A slap in the face of those who thought people cared only about Sachin Tendulkar's landmark.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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