Plays of the day December 12, 2008

Freddie turns Midas

Cricinfo staff

A game-changing moment: Sachin Tendulkar c & b Andrew Flintoff © Getty Images

When it's not your day
Jimmy Anderson had made 6 when he edged Ishant Sharma to second slip. Rahul Dravid got right behind it and then spilled it. Cue uncomfortable silence all round. Later in the day, he made three from 23 balls before playing down the wrong line to Graeme Swann. This isn't how distinguished careers are supposed to end.

Mr Innovation
Anderson defied India for 82 deliveries, and it was his partnership with Matt Prior that prevented the bowlers from running through England in the morning. He also played the shot of the day, a precise and elegantly executed reverse-sweep off Amit Mishra.

Happy birthday to me
Yuvraj Singh clutched his head in despair after Steve Harmison had tried to cut one too close to the body. But even before Mahendra Singh Dhoni had finished bellowing out his appeal, Harmison had turned and walked off. For a second, Yuvraj didn't realise what had happened. Then he raised his arms in jubilation. Not a bad way to celebrate 27 candles on the cake.

Fetch that
The crowd was understandably subdued after Graeme Swann's two-wicket burst on the stroke of tea. When the players emerged after the interval, the klaxons were silent. Not for long though. It was at his venue just over ten years ago that Sachin Tendulkar tore Shane Warne apart on his way to a stunning second-innings 155. Having sized up Swann, he sent one soaring into the stands at deep midwicket. The crowd roared, but this time, there was to be no match-turning century.

Call me Midas
When it came to bowling changes, Kevin Pietersen could do no wrong. When he threw the ball to Andrew Flintoff midway through the final session, India were in trouble at 102 for 4. A ball later, trouble became disarray. A fairly full delivery from Flintoff, a checked drive from Tendulkar, and gleeful English players crowding round their talisman after he had held on to the return catch. A game-changing moment, if ever there was one.

Talk the talk, walk the walk
As the shadows lengthened in the final hour, Flintoff continued to bowl at furious pace, coming round the wicket and beating Yuvraj repeatedly outside his off stump. There was quite a bit of chat too, and Yuvraj finally walked across to Pietersen at mid-off to have a word. Soon after, Harmison was called back, and a ball that angled across him was nicked to second slip. Who took the catch? Flintoff. Steve Waugh would have been proud.