Plays of the day December 11, 2008

Pull it KP, wake up Billy

Cricinfo staff


After the events of November 26, no one will be referring to cricket in terms of war minus the shooting © Getty Images
 

The sound of silence
There were less than 5000 spectators in the ground at the time of the toss, and when the teams emerged wearing black armbands 10 minutes before the start of play, they rose as one to be part of the two minutes' silence. This is a massive series for both teams, but after the events of November 26, no one will be referring to cricket in terms of war minus the shooting.

Straight as a die
There wasn't much strokeplay to savour in the first session, but when Zaheer Khan pitched one a bit too full, Alastair Cook produced the most pristine of straight drives. A vastly different stroke from the trenchant slog-sweep with which he reached his half-century.

KP on the pull
This wasn't an innings Kevin Pietersen will remember with much fondness. Tied down by Zaheer and Yuvraj Singh, he had laboured to 4 from 32 balls when Zaheer directed one at the ribcage. Pietersen's attempted pull was more of a lame slap and it just ballooned up lazily into the bowler's hands.

Swing is king
Zaheer's sensational spell of 6-3-12-2 after tea transformed the game, but the best delivery he bowled didn't get him a wicket. Andrew Strauss knew little about a ball that shaped back more than a foot at 90mph. A combination of the toe end of the bat and pad kept it out, but it immediately made you think of Venkatesh Prasad and the progress that India's bowlers have made in mastering the art of reverse-swing.

Wakey wakey, Billy
Harbhajan Singh was brought back after the drinks interval in the final session, and his second delivery flew off Paul Collingwood's pad to forward short leg. The Indians appealed, Billy Bowden fumbled with the hat in his hand and then raised the crooked finger. The bat wasn't in the same postcode and the ball struck the pad outside the line. As Collingwood walked back after a distinctly scratchy 9, an English journalist called it a "euthanasia decision".