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November 7, 2008
Early excitement of the day
Jason Krejza, Australia's most successful bowler on day one, was given the first over this morning even though the second new ball was only six overs old. Mahendra Singh Dhoni went after him immediately and tried to drive the ball hard. He got an inside edge and the ball, after hitting his boot, went straight to Krejza. The Australians appealed but Aleem Dar wasn't convinced and consulted with Billy Bowden before eventually asking for replays. The slow motion showed the ball thudding into ground just before hitting Dhoni's shoe.
Contrast of the day
Virender Sehwag started at a cracking pace on day one, finding the boundary regularly with a flurry of attacking strokes. The start on day two was far more subdued. Australia bowled 7.2 overs before Brett Lee strayed on to Dhoni's pads, allowing the batsman to flick behind square to get the boundary counter ticking again. Sehwag and M Vijay had hit five fours within the same number of overs on Thursday morning.
First crowd catch of the day
Krejza isn't the wiliest spinner Sourav Ganguly has faced but his approach against the debutant was cautious when compared to the disdain that Sehwag displayed. However, in the 99th over, Ganguly decided it was time. He moved smoothly out of his crease, reached the ball as it pitched, got under it and, with a clean swing of his bat, hit it into the stands beyond long-on. There were a couple of catches spilled on the field in that region last evening and the fan in the crowd didn't catch this one either.
First Australian cheer of the day
It came in the 30th over today, from who else but Krejza. The Australians were struggling after the Ganguly-Dhoni partnership had gone past 100. Dhoni seemed keen to attack and Ponting brought mid-on and mid-off up, tempting him to go over the top. Instead, he went back and across to nudge the ball on the leg side. Krejza's delivery was flat and quick and it beat the bat to hit leg stump. Krejza had his fourth wicket. Little did he know that the fifth would arrive two balls later.
Record of the day
Krejza was the most successful Australia bowler on show, but he was also the most expensive. So expensive, in fact, that he was creeping up on Omari Banks' unenviable record of conceding the most runs on Test debut. Banks had gone for 204 in 40 overs against Australia in Barbados in 2003. Krejza had given 201 by the end of his 40th over and Harbhajan Singh cut to the backward-point boundary to take him past Banks. At least he had plenty of wickets to show for those runs.
First ball of the day
Amit Mishra made his debut in the second Test in Mohali and played in Delhi as well but he hadn't faced a ball in Test cricket until he walked out with India 437 for 8 in Nagpur. He prepared to face his first ball from Krejza, who had six Indian scalps already. The first ball was straight, Mishra played inside the line, saw the ball pass his bat and hit wood, giving Krejza his seventh wicket.
Attacking field of the day
Krejza was on a hat-trick when No. 11 Ishant Sharma came out to bat. Ponting called his men close and stationed them at silly mid-off, silly point, first slip, leg slip, leg gully, forward short leg and silly midwicket. The anticipation reached a crescendo as Krejza ran in but it fizzled after Ishant defended on the front foot. Ponting kept his fielders close, however, and in Krejza's next over the inside edge flew low to Simon Katich at short leg. Krejza's 215 runs were the most runs conceded in an innings by a debutant but his eight wickets also made it the eighth-best figures in an innings on debut.
Hurry of the day
Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich could not afford to wait for Krejza to lead the team off. They were the first players off the field, running towards the dressing room to get padded up, and they were the first back on to the field. Their hurry carried into the first over: Katich drove Zaheer Khan to the long-off boundary and then reached out for a wide delivery for four more.
Untested arm of the day
The Australians didn't know what to expect of M Vijay with the bat and he managed to score 33. They probably didn't know what to expect of him in the field either. They learnt soon enough when Hayden pushed the ball towards mid-on and sprinted for a single. Vijay covered ground quickly and unleashed a direct hit to catch the Australian opener a couple of inches short of his crease.
Fitting victim of the day
Harbhajan Singh v Ricky Ponting has been one of cricket's premier bowler-batsman battles since 2001. And it resumed in Nagpur with Harbhajan on 299 Test wickets. Ponting scored the first point, lofting Harbhajan with the turn over midwicket. But it was the offspinner who won the round by turning an offbreak past an attempted cut to hit the stumps and notch up wicket No. 300. It was the tenth time Harbhajan had dismissed Ponting, the first time bowled.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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