Plays of the day February 18, 2010

Bengal connections emerge at Eden

N Hunter

Amla prospers in silence

Eden Gardens had not even started to fill in when Virender Sehwag bowled the day's first ball. So when Hashim Amla raised his bat, having taken a single to reach his half-century, barring a few isolated claps, no one seemed interested in acknowledging his efforts.

Mishra needs a Ranadeb Bose pill

Ranadeb Bose, Bengal's medium-fast bowler, has never bowled a front-foot no-ball in his entire first-class career. Perhaps, Amit Mishra needs to pay Bose a visit, now that he is in Kolkata. The legspinner over-stepped the line on 13 occasions in this Test to carry his series tally to 18.

Dhoni's left theory

When in Bengal think 'Left'. With Amla well set MS Dhoni opted for a bizarre leg-side field comprising a backward square leg, square leg, midwicket and a mid-on along with the short leg for a couple of early Harbhajan Singh overs. Not sure what exactly the Indian captain had on his mind, but to the normal eye it seemed pure left theory.

Boucher, the cutman

Each time there was a drinks break or the batsman signalled the dressing room for any sort of assistance, Mark Boucher rushed to the middle to inject a fresh dose of motivation and inspiration in equal proportions to Amla. Just like a cutman in a boxing ring, Boucher had towels, wet and dry, across his shoulders with a water bottle at hand as he lent the exhausted Amla a shoulder, whispering words of wisdom into his team-mate's ears. It did help Amla who played a gallant knock and held his head high despite the lows.

Harris distracts himself

The needle had already been established in the first innings after Ishant Sharma had seen off Paul Harris with a namaste, having forced the South African to nick. Today, as Amla pushed the game into the final session the Indians grew desperate and an equally anxious Harris decided to play with their nerves. As Ishant charged in to bowl and was about to take the leap before delivering the ball, Harris moved back out of the crease, waving towards the sight an irritant behind the sightscreen.

Viru's foul play

With the game entering the final five overs, the Indian desperation reached levels where players were willing to cross the line. Amla cut Sachin Tendulkar to the point boundary, but the ball stopped a few inches inside the ropes, but Virender Sehwag tapped it with his foot, which was, picked up by the TV cameras and India were penalised five runs.