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Plays of the day from the second ODI between India and West Indies
November 24, 2013
The cliché goes, "Well bowled, well batted, well fielded. Good cricket all around." The first ball of the 34th over of the Indian innings was a two-fingered salute to it. Lendl Simmons had been brought on to bowl his military medium-pace. He bowled a filthy long-hop first up, down the leg side and slow. Suresh Raina didn't play a distinguished shot either, helping it into short fine leg's lap. The most shocking piece of work, though, was from the fielder, Kieran Powell. A knee-high catch, at no real pace, and Powell spilled it. Poor cricket all around.
Virat Kohli reached the 90s in the 36th over of the Indian innings, but despite the Powerplay being on he was on 99 in the 40th. For most of the time during the fielding restrictions, he watched his partners Raina and MS Dhoni play dots or get out. In four overs - starting with the 37th - Kohli got only nine balls to face. It was a long time for his team-mates in the dressing room to wait for the milestone. So when Kohli finally got strike on 99, to the last ball of the 40th over, he hooked and his team-mates assumed he had got the hundred. Ravindra Jadeja, padded up to come in next, even began clapping as the others stood beside him. The smiles narrowed, and the claps stopped as they realised that Jason Holder had taken a low diving catch at long leg.
Standing up to the quicks is hard enough, but when the ball stays low and takes an outside edge, it becomes that much harder. Dhoni stood up to not just Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but also to the slightly quicker Mohit Sharma, when there wasn't much assistance to be gained from the pitch. One of those deliveries from Mohit didn't rise and took an outside edge from Marlon Samuels, but Dhoni had stayed low, had the gloves in the right place, and closed them at the right time. His reaction - repeated leaps in joy - showed you how special the catch was.
The catch, part II
This was a more painful effort, also initiated by Dhoni standing up to the stumps. Bhuvneshwar bowled short of a length and because Dhoni was up, Johnson Charles couldn't move forward. He still managed to time it, but failed to keep it down. The ball travelled quickly to Bhuvneshwar, who missed it and was hit in the chest. He managed to catch the rebound, but nearly collapsed after the act and had no energy to celebrate.
The conditions in the evening were less than ideal for cricket. The heavy dew made it near impossible for the bowlers to grip the ball, and Darren Bravo might want to walk straight into one of the Sri Lankan casinos being advertised in the stadiums during this series. In a space of four balls, he was dropped thrice. First it was Dhoni, who had taken a more difficult catch earlier. The deflection on the cut wasn't that big, but the gloves didn't quite close at the right time. Two balls later, Bravo went hard at R Ashwin again, but this time the difficult chance went through Suresh Raina at first slip. The resulting single kept Bravo on strike for the next over, and he hit the first ball back to the left of Mohammed Shami, who got a hand to it but couldn't hold on.
The reaction, part II
On second thought, Bravo shouldn't be venturing into any casino. He rode his luck too far. In Ashwin's next over, he tried to cut a ball that was not short enough and Dhoni caught the edge this time. Bravo's partner in the 100-run stand, Kieran Powell, hit the ground with his bat in disgust.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
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