India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Delhi

Shaking off jet lag, and red umpires

Sidharth Monga at the Feroz Shah Kotla

October 31, 2009

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Gautam Gambhir got hit on his neck, India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Delhi, October 31, 2009
Gautam Gambhir went off the field after getting hit in the neck © Associated Press
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Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

Last-minute specialist
Graham Manou is used to frenzied debuts. At Edgbaston in the Ashes earlier this year, he knew he would be playing only after the team sheet had been submitted, without his name on it, because Brad Haddin broke his finger after the toss. This time, though, he had more time to get mentally prepared for his ODI debut: Manou reached India at around 2.00 pm on the eve of the match, shrugged off the jetlag and was ready for his debut.

Another last-minute specialist
Manou was at least expected to feature in the match today, but Umpire Sanjay Hazare wasn't. He is not even on the ICC panel of umpires, and the BCCI had anointed him third umpire for the game yesterday. He was given that responsibility only because the foreign umpire, Mark Benson, has been ruled out due to illness, and the third umpire, Shavir Tarapaore, was promoted to on-field duty. At the last minute, though, Hazare and Tarapore exchanged roles.

Bodily harm
In the second match, Gautam Gambhir had a charged-up Peter Siddle welcome him with bouncers, one of which hit his shoulder. Today's blow, though, in front of his home crowd, was nastier. In the 18th over of Australia's innings, fielding at forward short leg, Gambhir took a full-blooded pull from Ricky Ponting on his neck. Off Gambhir went right away and he didn't field for the rest of the innings.

Slow and low?
With Siddle and Mitchell Johnson bowling, the Kotla pitch suddenly started behaving like a normal track. Johnson even made Virender Sehwag sway away from one that was headed for his face. In the sixth over, though, the pitch revealed its true colour. Siddle, for third match in a row, got Tendulkar playing away from his body and found an edge, but this one fell short of first slip.

Men in Red
Commentators sometimes lazily call the umpires Men in Black during ODI matches. Today they couldn't because the umpires actually wore red shirts, presumably to be able to wear black armbands to mourn the death of David Shepherd.

Chilled out message of the day …
… was seen on the giant screen when Sachin Tendulkar flicked Johnson for four in the first over. "Four - so much more chilled out than all that running," said a Fosters-sponsored message.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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