New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 4th day January 18, 2011

Fleeting rain, and a curious dismissal

Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the Wellington Test between New Zealand and Pakistan

Riposte of the day
Brendon McCullum had been tied down for an uncharacteristically long period by Abdur Rehman, when the bowler induced a false shot by shortening the length a touch. The resultant edge flew to the fielder at silly mid-off who shelled the straightforward chance, but McCullum's response to being beaten was emphatic. He shimmied down the pitch for Rehman's next ball and drilled him over long-off for six in utterly commanding fashion.

Shot of the day
Few batsmen play the straight drive as well as Martin Guptill and today's gorgeous hit in the penultimate over before lunch was a perfect example. The slightly over-pitched delivery was met powerfully by Guptill's impeccably straight bat, and neither the batsman nor the fielder at mid-on moved a muscle as the ball sped to the fence.

False start of the day
Rain had been predicted for the afternoon session on day four, but when it eventually arrived after tea, the bad weather was short lived. Within 25 minutes of the initial interruption, the covers had been removed, the stumps had been re-erected and the players were taking their positions in the outfield when the rain suddenly returned with a vengeance. Off they all went again, and once more, the rain eased almost as quickly as it began. The players barely had time for a sit-down before they were walking out again.

Quizzical dismissal of the day
The rain delay obviously didn't agree with Jesse Ryder because he played perhaps the worst shot of the series to the first ball after the break. Mohammad Hafeez bowled an innocuous straighter delivery, which pitched in line with off stump, and Ryder incredibly chose to leave it. The ball turned away a touch and struck the top of off stump, leaving a dumbfounded Ryder to trudge back to the pavilion without having made a notable contribution in the series.

Over of the day
Abdur Rehman may have had a good day, bowling marathon spells into the wind, but it was Hafeez who produced the most testing over of spin from the Scoreboard End. The first ball of Hafeez's fifth over spat back viciously from way outside off stump, to strike Ross Taylor just outside the line, and after two more good deliveries, Taylor managed to get off strike with a single. Hafeez then produced another beauty that beat both batsman and keeper, as the ball bit the surface and bounced directly over off stump, giving away two byes. He then finished the over with a fuller delivery that turned more than expected and Franklin edged it to Younis Khan at slip.

Wild slog of the day
With Umar Gul in fine reverse-swinging form late in the evening and Chris Martin at the other end, Tim Southee had clearly decided the best way to advance New Zealand's cause was to swing lustily at everything that came his way. When Martin turned the strike over mid-way through a Gul over, Southee backed away as the bowler charged in, looking to free his arms through the offside. Not missing a beat, Gul banged it in short, attempting to hurry the batsman. Southee decided to go for it anyway, and the resultant swipe, part baseball hit, part swing of an executioner's broadsword, sent the ball sailing over the fine-leg boundary.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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