Plays of the day December 21, 2008

Switching it in style

Cricinfo staff

Mahendra Singh Dhoni waited till the 31st over before throwing the ball to Amit Mishra, but the impact was immediate © AFP

Hero to zero
Two centuries in Chennai, and plenty of accolades for his patience and back-foot play. At Mohali though, Andrew Strauss' feet hadn't started moving properly by the time Zaheer Khan darted a yorker in. Bat missed ball, ball hit pad and Daryl Harper had a simple decision to make.

Who's the rabbit?
Not too many people could believe what was going on. Zaheer had taken a wicket in his opening over, but with Kevin Pietersen new to the crease, Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to take him off and bring Yuvraj Singh on instead. The first ball was inside-edged on to the pad, and the next five didn't sail out of the stadium either, though not for lack of effort from Pietersen's part. He scored just three from the 17 balls that Yuvraj bowled to him.

As straight as can be
Soon after lunch, Zaheer got a little bit of reverse-swing going and was pitching the ball up. A full delivery was right in the slot for Pietersen though, and the push past the bowler just streaked past the stumps at the bowlers' end.

Time for a change
Dhoni waited till the 31st over before throwing the ball to Amit Mishra, but the impact was immediate. The third delivery was beautifully bowled, pitched on middle and leg and turning right across the bat to take the thinnest of outside edges. Paul Collingwood had also made a century in Chennai, but there was to be no repeat here.

Anything you can do
Pietersen had already played some stunning strokes down the ground by the time Andrew Flintoff arrived, but even he could only watch with admiration as Flintoff took a stride forward and lofted Yuvraj effortlessly over long-on for a six.

Reverse-sweep or switch-hit?
Harbhajan Singh wasn't even halfway through his action by the time Pietersen suddenly jumped into a left-hander's stance, took aim, and clouted the ball a long way over the cover boundary. He's done it to Murali before, but it was still a sight for sore eyes. Harbhajan was just sore.