Plays of the day November 9, 2008

'Twas brief with much grief

Cricinfo staff

Virender Sehwag tore into Jason Krejza - stepping out to the second ball and slamming it into the stands at long-on and then dismissing another delivery back over the bowler's head. © Getty Images

Poignant moment of the day
As VVS Laxman walked back to the dressing-room, the crowd rose in anticipation and cries of "Dada Dada" were heard as Sourav Ganguly walked out for his final Test innings. The Australians waited together in the middle and applauded as Ganguly reached the crease. Munaf Patel, who had brought drinks out for Sachin Tendulkar, clapped by knocking two bottles together. The stage was set - Ganguly and Tendulkar, India's most successful one-day opening combination were together for one last time. Their partnership, however, lasted one ball. Ganguly closed the face too early to a flighted delivery from Jason Krejza and the ball lobbed back towards the bowler. It hung in the air for the longest time and Krejza dived forward to send Ganguly on his way for a first-ball duck.

Improvement of the day
Last evening Ishant Sharma was asked about what the team thought of the poor crowds at the new VCA stadium. "No comment," was his answer. Today was Sunday. India had a first innings lead and they were batting. Sourav Ganguly would possibly be playing his final Test innings. The ingredients were just right and fittingly the Test match had its largest crowd. You could even hear chats of "Viru, Viru!" or "India, India!" The reality, however, was that the stadium was still no where near half-full.

Unwise tactic of the day
Brad Haddin has had a poor series behind the stumps but today he moved sharply to catch Virender Sehwag. His attempt to collect a delivery that went off Tendulkar's hip, however, wasn't so smart. Haddin dived to his left but once he realised he couldn't reach the ball he took off his glove, threw it at the ball, and stopped it. Billy Bowden was far from impressed and signalled five penalty runs after a chat with Ricky Ponting.

Delay of the day
There was a long delay early in the morning session because the umpires felt that the rather new ball had lost its shape. As they pored over the box of replacements, Ponting used the time-out to chat with Brett Lee; Virender Sehwag decided he needed a new bat to whack the bowling; and Matthew Hayden curiously called for replacement socks.

Impossible catch of the day
Brett Lee delivered a low full toss to Sehwag and the batsmen managed to get under the ball and drive it in the air towards the bowler. The ball sped over Lee's head and he had barely raised his hand before it went past him and towards the boundary. The next ball wasn't a full toss but Sehwag capitalised on the full length and middle-stump line and placed the on-drive wide of mid-on for four more.

Mad moment of the day
Sehwag probably doesn't have any regard for Jason Krejza's bowling abilities because he was skipping down the track as soon as he got to face the offspinner. Krejza, however, saw him coming and shortened his length. Sehwag, realising he wasn't to the pitch of the ball, ended up chipping it in the air towards mid-off where Brett Lee ran in to try and take the catch. The ball fell short, though, and rebounded off Lee, which allowed the batsmen to take a single. Lee then tried for a run out at the batsman's end but the ball missed the stumps and sped towards long leg. The batsmen, however, had run too far past their creases to be able to go for an overthrow.

Second mad moment of the day
It was the final over before the tea break. India had lost five wickets for 50 runs in the session. Their hopes of setting a target beyond Australia were evaporating. And then Tendulkar pushed the ball towards cover and sprinted for a single. He was half-way down when he realised that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had no intention of responding. In the first innings Tendulkar had survived a similar chance when the direct hit missed the stumps. This time, however, White fired the throw back to Haddin and Australia had their sixth of the session.

Dessert of the day
Sehwag must not have had any dessert during the lunch break for soon after play resumed he helped himself to large helpings of Krejza. He stepped out to the second ball and slammed it into the stands at long-on. A couple of balls later, Sehwag dismissed another delivery back over the bowler's head. Sehwag helped himself to 14 runs off the first over after lunch.

High and low moment of the day
Vijay began the second session with a splendid shot. Watson bowled a full ball that swung into the right-hander. Vijay met it on the front foot and drove towards the cover boundary. The next ball swung in against but this time the length wasn't as full. Vijay came forward once again but the ball struck his pad before the bat could get around it. Vijay was gone for 41 after a 116-run stand with Sehwag.

Dispute of the day
Dhoni played the ball towards Mitchell Johnson at short fine leg and ambled the single. Johnson fielded and, seeing that Dhoni was yet to make his crease, threw the ball towards the bowler's end, by which time Aleem Dar had already handed Krejza his cap. Krejza missed the ball and the back-up fielder at mid-off - Michael Clarke - was bent over and didn't realise that the ball had sped past him towards the boundary. Ponting had a long chat with Billy Bowden and seemed to indicate to Aleem Dar that he had already called over before the throw from Johnson. The umpires didn't agree.