Plays of the day October 18, 2008

Watchman, conman, and the whole pain thing

Cricinfo staff


Third time's no charm: Matthew Hayden fell to Zaheer Khan again © Getty Images
 

Watchman by night, conman by day
Last night, it was a surprise when India chose to send in Ishant Sharma after Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal 12 minutes before stumps. But the nightwatchman did his job, and more. Yesterday he played most of the bowling from the time he came till the players went off the field - 15 balls out of the 19 bowled since his arrival yesterday.

Today, unintentionally, he may have done India another favour by getting out to a short, rising delivery. Australia went in with that plan afterwards for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly, too, and the two received the gifts with ferocity and gratitude.

Wise move of the day
In the 128th over of India's innings, Dhoni disproved the law of equal and opposite reaction. Cameron White bowled him a gentle, flat delivery, but it was sent back to him about 1367 times the pace. White smartly didn't go for the catch. With 465 already given away already, four runs wouldn't have cost Australia a lot. But White did make sure his tour didn't end right there, because had he got his hands to the ball, only God could have blessed his fingers.

Zaheer - 3, Hayden - 0
Harbhajan Singh versus Ricky Ponting is history, for there is a new one-sided love story playing at a stadium near - or away - from you. Zaheer Khan has found a liking for Matthew Hayden, and the external forces have started conspiring to make the love materialise. Zaheer got some help from Asad Rauf in dismissing Hayden off the third ball of the innings. He dismissed Hayden in the second innings, too, lbw this time with one that might have just slid down leg. Again, in Hayden's third innings of the series, Hayden contrived to get out. The ball hit his pad, then his inside edge, and then the middle stump. Poor old Matty. He had spent more than nine hours on the field.

Mended when broke
In the fourth over of the morning, when Brett Lee tried to run Ishant out, he failed to collect cleanly a throw that was wide of the stumps. He split his webbing on the right hand in the process, and had to go off to get two stitches on the webbing. But when he came back later in the day, he seemed back to full fitness. He took a catch, falling backwards at long-ff, to dismiss the centurion Ganguly.

Oops, Rudi did it again
What he gave to Ganguly yesterday, Rudi Koertzen took from Dhoni today. When he didn't consult the third umpire before turning down an appeal for a stumping - Ganguly's foot was in air then - he gave him a chance to get to a hundred, which he dutifully did. But when Dhoni looked close to a hundred, he came face to face with the wrath of Rudi. When he was given out lbw off Peter Siddle, it appeared he had played the ball, and at any rate it hit Dhoni outside the line of off stump. What are the chances Dhoni would give Kumar Sangakkara a call in the evening?

There's no such thing as pain
Dhoni came out like a happy hooker today, dismissing everything short. But when Lee, bowling from round the stumps, tuck him up with a perfect short-pitched delivery, straight, and shoulder high, Dhoni played it out in his own original way. The bat stayed low, and seeing there was no way to move out of the line, he took the blow on his body. The scene, though, looked like a tennis ball hit a brick wall. And Dhoni went back to hooking.