Plays of the day March 27, 2008

Cranky Sreesanth, and sticking to the 'V'

Yuvraj Singh's timely intervention perhaps saved Sreesanth from a meeting with the match referee © AFP

Sreesanth raises the volume
With no breakthrough in the first 30 minutes, it was up to Sreesanth to make something happen. Experimenting with different actions, he began to get cranky when AB de Villiers backed away from one delivery. Despite the batsman moving away, Sreesanth continued to bowl the ball and fumed at the batsmen soon after. He continued to be fired up through the over - which prompted umpire Tony Hill to have a word with Anil Kumble - before nailing the wicket on the final ball, inducing an outside edge by moving one away from the batsman. Just when he appeared to be preparing for a send-off, Yuvraj Singh hugged him to divert his attention.

Refusing to bend
The heat got to the Indian fielders around noon. RP Singh, stationed at mid-off, couldn't get down in time to stop a drive from Hashim Amla and Sreesanth looked even more miserable a few overs later, when he tried to stop one at mid-on. Kumble couldn't control his frustration and Rahul Dravid, standing at first slip, let out a few angry glares as well. Amla rubbed more salt into the wounds after the first mistake, forcing RP to chase the ball to the boundary once again.

Bring on the Super Kings
It's pretty obvious the MA Chidambaram Stadium is being prepared for the forthcoming Indian Premier League. "Welcome to the Lion's Den" and "Out there the Super Kings Rule" scream some of the yellow hoardings that dot the top of the stands. The pillars are draped in yellow as well. The second day saw a few more yellow bits: several spectators sporting T-shirts and caps made for fans of the Chennai Super Kings.

Amla drives to his hundred
Choosing an emphatic manner to bring up his hundred, Hashim Amla cracked three fours - all through the covers - to celebrate his first century against India. While the first and the third were crisply struck off the front foot, the second was a powerful push after rocking back.

RP calls for the third umpire
Despite India turning desperate for wickets, RP Singh managed to maintain his calm. Mid-way through the day, he deflected a straight drive from Mark Boucher onto the non-striker's stumps and let out an appeal. Morne Morkel had made his ground, and the umpire had seen that too, but the persistent RP drew a box towards the third umpire's box, almost pleading for the appeal to be taken upstairs. A cheeky smile promptly followed.

Steyn has some fun
Trust a No.11 batsman to play a reverse slog-sweep for four. Dale Steyn decided it was time for some innovation when he took on Harbhajan. A straight loft followed - which neither Harbhajan running back nor Sreesanth running forward from long-on judged - before he finally holed out to RP Singh at long-off. In an age when tailenders tend to block and stodge, it was a timely throwback to the good old times.

Gliding sixes
Few would have bet on the first two sixes of the match being struck to third man. Virender Sehwag led the way with a back-foot ramp off Makhaya Ntini before Wasim Jaffer, normally a solid batsman, did the same a few overs later. Opening batsmen are normally told to keep to the 'V'; the two batsmen did just that behind the wicket.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo