New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin, 2nd day

Applause for Martin, grimaces for Morkel

The Plays of the Day from the second day of the first Test between New Zealand and South Africa, in Dunedin

Firdose Moonda in Dunedin

March 8, 2012

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Imran Tahir lines up to pouch a return-catch from Brendon McCullum, New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Test, Dunedin, 2nd day, March 8, 2012
Imran Tahir's celebrations after dismissing Brendon McCullum were subdued © AFP
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Cheers of the day
New Zealand had enjoyed taking the lead for only a few seconds before Dale Steyn bowled Doug Bracewell with a fast, full delivery that sneaked onto the stumps past the outside edge. It brought to the crease one of the great sights in world cricket, Chris Martin striding to the crease, bat in hand. The sizeable crowd was on its feet, welcoming him to the crease for what they anticipated would be a short but entertaining stay. He did not face a ball in the over that was bowled before stumps as Trent Boult refused a run that would have seen him on strike. The good news is that he will back tomorrow morning, to start day three.

Super-sopper substitute of the day
Play was due to start half an hour early because of the time lost on day one but a wet patch on the outfield prevented that. A soggy strip in the shadows of the trees bordering the ground had no access to sunlight or heat of any description and overnight dew caused the area to be too moist for day two to start as scheduled. With no super-sopper in sight, groundstaff used rolls of hessian, known for its ability to hold water, to mop up.

First-ball of the day
Most bowlers start with a loosener, either a lazily full ball inviting the drive or too much effort put into a short one that asks to be put away. Not Vernon Philander. Having made his name through nagging consistency and the ability to hardly ever bowl a bad ball, Philander started with a good length ball that seamed away from Rob Nicol and beat the bat as he moved forward to defend it. Never mind the opportunity to score a boundary off the first ball, Philander made sure there was not even room for a quick tap and run as he immediately asked a question of New Zealand's opening batsman - whose wicket he later claimed.

Cover-destroyer of the day
On what locals have called the most sunshine Dunedin gets all year, one of the least expected things was a wet ball. However, after Brendon McCullum whipped a ball through midwicket and caused it to land on the covers which were still moist from the overnight dew. After lolling around in the puddles for a few seconds, Morne Morkel made his way to recover it. Without any thought for what he was standing on, Morkel trod over the covers with his spikes. Every step drew a grimace from grounds man Tom Tamati and he was eventually pictured on camera with an expression that suggested he was counting the dollars it will cost to replace a few of his covers.

Non-celebration of the day
Imran Tahir usually pulls out his impression of an aeroplane, and a lap of honour, after taking a wicket but his celebration after dismissing McCullum was somewhat subdued. With a ball that probably didn't deserve a wicket, Tahir got McCullum to play a sweep that got a top edge to the midwicket region. Although the man from short leg was moving to take the catch, he let Tahir have it after the legspinner indicated he could get there. Tahir watched nervously and settled under it, before holding the ball gingerly. Once it was safely in his hands, the arms came out like wings and he was about to take off when he stopped, punched the air near Mark Boucher and searched for Graeme Smith to hug.

Four of the day
South Africa's fielding was terrific most of today but slipped up as the day was 10 overs away from being complete. Graeme Smith placed himself on the long-on boundary and had to make a diving attempt to stop the ball when Doug Bracewell pushed it past non-striker Kruger van Wyk. The captain got to the ball and laid hands on it but let it go as he rolled over only to see it escape under him and trickle towards the rope. Morne Morkel raced after it and reached the boundary just as the ball touched the rope, causing all Smith's effort to be in vain.

Edited by Siddarth Ravindran

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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