Plays of the day December 14, 2008

No fours please, we're English

Cricinfo staff


The Chennai crowd cheered when Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood reached their centuries but not as loudly as when Virender Sehwag was blazing away © Getty Images
 

Chennai, take a bow
Nearly a decade ago, they swallowed their pain to stand and applaud as Wasim Akram's Pakistan side went on a lap of honour. On Sunday, they were on their feet again, clapping with genuine appreciation as Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood reached their centuries. Of course, it was nothing compared to the decibel level once Virender Sehwag started teeing off.

No fours please, we're English
In the afternoon session, with most in the ground expecting a declaration, England dawdled along. By the time Matt Prior stepped out and lashed one through cover, they had gone 109 balls without a boundary. Some intent.

Not a happy Bhajji
When Rahul Dravid couldn't get his hands to a difficult chance at leg slip, Harbhajan Singh was heard muttering something along the lines of "Why don't you come and bowl?" His mood didn't improve later in the afternoon either, with Gautam Gambhir dropping Prior at short leg. This time, there were no words, just a woe-is-me expression.

His strength is his weakness?
That seemed to be Steve Harmison's theory while bowling to Sehwag. It didn't quite work though. By the time Kevin Pietersen decided that a steady diet of short and wide deliveries wasn't quite the need of the hour, Sehwag had pounded five fours and one astonishing six over third man.

Playing yourself in: What's that?
Monty Panesar's first ball to Sehwag was a full toss. Sehwag saw it early, took a good meaty swing and deposited the ball into the stand at square leg. It brought up India's 50, in 5.3 overs. Slow and steady, it wasn't.

How to empty the stands
Two balls after nonchalantly lofting Graeme Swann over wide long-on for a six, Sehwag went for the paddle sweep and missed it. The appeal was vociferous, and it took Daryl Harper an age to lift the finger. As an annoyed Sehwag walked off, some in the stands started heading for the exit.

The first run is the hardest
It took Dravid eight deliveries to get off the mark with a single behind square on the leg side. The cheers that greeted it could have been mistaken for applause that usually accompanies a half-century or better. How the mighty have fallen.