India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 2nd day February 15, 2010

Blunders at Eden Gardens

N Hunter

A blunder storm
Bat went first, thrown to the ground. Helmet was got rid of next, then the right glove, followed by the left as Virender Sewhag stood there, bewildered: watching the big screen. He had punched Wayne Parnell behind square, ran the first run hard and turned for the second. Gautam Gambhir, his partner, responded positively but Sehwag abruptly stopped, leaving Gambhir helpless and red faced. It was a gross blunder, and all Sehwag's fault. Standing alone at far end of the pitch, Sehwag arched back, sighed in anger at his folly. At least he made up with a superb century.

AB takes the punches
Wicketkeeping is no easy job, especially when the ball comes at you at speeds between 85 and 90-plus mph. Even AB de Villiers, who has kept wickets on many occasions for South Africa, had to sustain some hard knocks and remained jittery behind the stumps throughout the day. His biggest blunder, though, came after tea when he missed a stumping of Virender Sewhag, who, on 129, stepped out against a leg-stump delivery from Paul Harris. But de Villiers, keeping for the injured Mark Boucher, was never in a position to collect the ball cleanly and knock the bails off. The only thing both he and Harris could do was outstare each other.

Vijay's rite of passage
It hurts, but it makes Test cricket the theatre that is supposed to be. M Vijay lined up to face his third ball. Morne Morkel banged it in short at 85 mph. Vijay thought it would be a harmless one flying past his head and arched back but, to his horror, the ball came in and hit him flush on the grill as his helmet toppled over his face. It was no embarrassment; it was a young Test cricketer's rite of passage.

JP drops the world No.1 ranking?
"Sh**ts", screamed Morkel. JP Duminy had just failed to cling on to the easiest catch of the match after Sehwag's thick outside edge travelled to him at first slip. Usually Graeme Smith stands in that position but he was at mid-off with an injured finger. Laxman's drop of Amla cost India 54 runs. Meanwhile Sehwag, given a chance on 47, not only notched a century, but shared a vital 249-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, allowing India to take the upper hand.

Tendulkar's (E)den
It was not just Tendulkar, who got edgy as he neared his second straight century in the series, even the 40,000-odd spectators at Eden Gardens were nervous. And when he was on 99, they refused to remain silent. To drive away their anxiety, they started revving each other up and boosted the spirits of their hero, who crossed the three-figure mark for the 47th time with a firm flick to the fine-leg boundary, sending those thousands into a tumultuous uproar.