New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Test, Hamilton, 1st day January 7, 2011

Fiery McCullum's brain fade

Plays of the Day from the first day of the Hamilton Test between New Zealand and Pakistan

Stoic celebration of the day
New Zealand is in laidback, summer-holiday mode and Pakistan seemed to have caught some of the Kiwi nonchalance when they celebrated Tim McIntosh's wicket in nearly complete silence. The Seddon Park crowd also remained thoroughly unmoved at the dismissal. So vexed was McIntosh at the lack of jubilant whooping from the opposition that he even hung around to make sure he was out - moments after edging the ball directly to Younis Khan at second slip. No matter though, for the Pakistan players found their voices soon, when they loudly appealed for caught behind after the ball missed the edge by four inches.

Shot of the day
Brendon McCullum had threatened to explode throughout the morning session with a series of boundaries square of the wicket, but he well and truly signaled his intentions off the first ball he faced after lunch. An over-pitched Umar Gul delivery was met by a rapid swish of the bat and the ball sailed over cover for the first six of the match.

Brain explosion of the day
Having struck Gul for two sixes, McCullum was clearly in an aggressive mood. But just as he has done many times before, McCullum failed to temper aggression with sense and threw his wicket away. A short, wide delivery from Gul found the middle of McCullum's flashing blade, but it also flew straight into the hands of the deep-point fielder, who had been placed 10 metres from the boundary for exactly that stroke. Another start wasted.

Disappointment of the day
Martin Guptill had plodded his way to a 222-minute half-century off 162 balls and looked good to kick on to a big score, but was undone by perhaps the worst delivery that had been bowled to him all day. Abdur Rehman delivered a thigh-high full toss that even most club cricketers would have put away. Guptill, having lulled himself into a defensive daze, attempted to gently drive it down the ground and ended up providing a leading edge that was gobbled up at cover.

Fielding blunder of the day
Ross Taylor may be one of the fastest men in the world between wickets, but even he will count himself lucky to have survived the seemingly suicidal single when Azhar Ali misfielded his cover drive. The ball was deflected from cover towards the stumps at the bowler's end, when the batsmen decided to scamper the single. All Wahab Riaz had to do as he ran in from mid-on, was to pick the ball up and move not more than two feet to the stumps. Somehow, Riaz managed to get his ankle in the way of his unnecessary throw (he could have simply taken the bails off with ball in hand), and Taylor was reprieved.

Strangle of the day
Rehman was under no illusions that any extravagant turn could be achieved by flighting the ball on the unresponsive Seddon Park pitch and opted instead to attack by drying up runs. After the lunch break, over after over of fast, flat left-arm spin choked the already flagging run-rate and Rehman delivered five consecutive maidens. The plan worked a treat, as he picked up Taylor's wicket in his sixth post-lunch over as the batsman attempted to break free.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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