Plays of the day November 8, 2008

Going slow and Vijay's throw

Cricinfo staff

Simon Katich fell to Zaheer Khan on 102, but not before he had been afforded a life © AFP

Lucky score of the day
If a batsman is going to give the opposition a catch in this match, he'd better do it when he's approaching a century. Sachin Tendulkar was let off twice as he neared his hundred and this morning Simon Katich benefited from Rahul Dravid's generosity. Batting on 94, Katich chased a wide ball from Ishant Sharma in the second over of the morning. The edge flew towards Dravid's left and he couldn't hold on. Dravid's had a poor game so far: a second-ball duck and a dropped catch.

Landmarks of the day
Katich began the day eight short of his hundred while his partner Michael Hussey was five away from a fifty. Hussey got to his half-century first, edging a wide ball from Zaheer Khan through the slip cordon. Katich patiently left umpteen deliveries outside off stump before finally receiving one on a length which allowed him to steer to the third man boundary to bring uphis fifth Test century.

Wayward start to the day
Test-match wides are rare and normally far between. Sometimes even the runs off deliveries that are so far off track that the wicketkeeper has no chance are deemed as byes. Today, however, we had two wides in Ishant's first over. He ran in and sprayed the ball outside off twice and Aleem Dar let neither pass. It was an indicator of what was to come …

Over-populated region of the day
Mahendra Singh Dhoni deployed an eight-one field for his two fast bowlers while they were operating against the left-handers. He packed the off side with two slips, point, short cover, extra cover, mid-off, third man and sweeper. The solitary fielder on the leg-side was the man at mid-on. Predictably, the line bowled to Hussey and Katich was so wide outside off that they didn't even attempt to hit on the leg side until the 12th over of the day when Hussey tried to pull but missed. The first runs on the leg side came much later …

First leg-side run of the day
The first time the ball went off the bat on the leg side was in the 15th over when Hussey pushed towards mid-on. In the 18th the batsmen ran when the ball trickled on the leg side but the umpire decided the ball had come off Katich's pad. The first leg-side run finally came in 22nd over when Hussey intended to play the ball on the off side off the front foot but got an inside edge towards midwicket.

Kick of the day
Michael Clarke scored one boundary in his innings of 8 off 44 balls but that four was a result of a rather freakish lapse from Harbhajan Singh. Clarke drove Zaheer firmly off the front foot towards mid-off. Harbhajan ran to his right and slid to field the ball but somehow ended up deflecting it with his foot towards the long-on boundary.

Improvisation of the day
Harbhajan continued to implement India's restrictive tactics. He bowled to the left-handers with only three fielders on the off side and therefore pitched the ball outside leg stump. Hussey attempted to sweep against this line but didn't make contact consistently. Then he decided to reverse sweep and hit the ball from outside leg into the empty space behind point for four.

Reflexes of the day
Despite India's choke-hold Hussey remained resolute and couldn't be frustrated into getting out. Then, after he had moved back to punch Harbhajan on the off side, he set off for a run, perhaps assuming the ball would get past M Vijay at silly point. It didn't. Vijay stretched out his right hand to stop the ball and threw it back towards the stumps. Hussey was a few yards outside his crease and had to brake before turning around. Dhoni moved quickly to collect the throw and broke the stumps with the batsman just short.