India v Australia 2008-09 / News

Plays of the day

Keep it simple, Simon

Cricinfo staff

November 10, 2008

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Even though he inspires little confidence in the field, Amit Mishra running out Ricky Ponting provided a magical moment on the fifth day © Getty Images
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Improvisation of the day
Simon Katich had been smothered by India's 8-1 field on the third day and it wasn't long before Mahendra Singh Dhoni placed a similar field this morning. Katich got beaten several times outside off stump and eventually tried to break free by moving a long way across his stumps and swinging a fuller delivery from Ishant Sharma from outside off towards the deep square leg boundary. It was the sort of innovation that was absent from his innings on Saturday. However, his attempt to pull Ishant once again from wide outside off stump resulted in a top edge that landed in Dhoni's hands.

Edgy start to the day
Ricky Ponting was criticised severely for bowling his part-time bowlers in order to make up the over-rate last evening and today, his chance to play a significant innings in the run-chase nearly ended off his first ball. He got squared up by Zaheer Khan and the edge fell just short of Rahul Dravid. Zaheer wasn't pleased and told Dravid "I told you to stand a bit forward" in Hindi.

Potentially terrific chance of the day
Matthew Hayden pulled out the reverse sweep against Harbhajan and middled the ball but hit it a little fine. The ball flew at speed towards Dravid at first slip and he did well to react quickly enough to get both hands to the ball. On a better day, or in a better series, the catch might have stuck but Dravid's awful form continued and the ball simply bounced out.

Direct hit of the day
Amit Mishra inspires little confidence in the field. He's relatively slow and hasn't had the safest of hands in this series. That's probably why Ponting pushed the ball towards him at mid-off and took his chances. Mishra, though, anticipated the run and moved swiftly towards the ball. He swooped on the ball, picked it up with one hand and released it quickly. The throw clipped the stumps, dislodging one bail, with Ponting a foot short.

Eventful first over of the day
Harbhajan Singh doesn't go round the wicket to the left-handers very often but today he started his spell by going round to Hayden in order to use the rough outside the left-hander's off stump. The first ball, however, was short and Hayden drilled it through cover for four. The next nearly brought Harbhajan a wicket: Hayden, on 34, edged an attempted cut but Dhoni floored the regulation catch. Dhoni kicked the ground, Dravid held his head. The final ball of the over hit one of those rough patches and took off, Hayden let it go and the ball nearly smacked Dhoni on the helmet.


Rahul Dravid's awful form continued as he put down a chance from Matthew Hayden off Harbhajan Singh © AFP
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Tardy team of the day
Australia were slow with their overs on day four and at one stage they were nearly ten overs behind. During the first session on the final day, India were worse. There were elaborate field changes and long chats between captain and bowler ever or often. India managed to bowl only 21.3 overs before lunch when they should have completed 30.

Counterattack of the day
Hayden had begun to threaten India after he was let off twice and Dhoni packed the leg-side boundary with fielders and instructed his spinners to land the ball outside leg stump. Hayden couldn't be bothered: he lofted Harbhajan between the men at long on and deep midwicket and then bisected the gap between deep midwicket and long leg. When Sehwag floated a ball outside leg, Hayden charged and the men at deep midwicket and long on watched as the ball flew over the boundary.

Bowling change of the day
Hussey and Hayden were scoring at over four an over with ease during their partnership. The fast bowlers had failed to break the partnership and Hayden, in particular, went after Harbhajan and Sehwag. Dhoni finally turned to Mishra, whom he had used extremely late in the first innings as well. In his first over, Mishra sent down a topspinner to Hussey, the ball landed on a rough patch outside off stump and climbed sharply on Hussey. It took the outside edge and bobbed up to Dravid who took the catch this time.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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