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Sidharth Monga in Hamilton
March 20, 2009
Start as you mean to go
Yuvraj Singh flicked the first ball he played today - the second of the day - off his pads towards square leg. Martin Guptill misfielded and allowed it to go to the boundary. That stroke kickstarted a flurry of fours from the batsmen - seven in all - in the first four overs of the day. Even before they had warmed up, New Zealand were facing the heat.
Fat men can dive
Chris Martin managed to cramp Sachin Tendulkar, who was shaping to play the cut, for room. But Tendulkar created space by arching his back and then opened the face to guide the ball towards point.. It seemed a certain four, but Jesse Ryder dived full-length to his left from backward point and cut it off. Is Adam Parore watching?
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni cut a wide delivery from Iain O'Brien, Ryder pulled off another athletic effort at gully, diving to his right this time, and claimed a low one-handed catch. Dhoni refused to walk, and was told by the crowd to "walk mate". Replays showed the ball might have touched the ground before reaching Ryder's hand. Dhoni was booed when the not-out decision was finally made. Three balls later, he went for a hook, gloved it, and walked right away. This time he was cheered.
Zak gets lucky
The boundary at the City End was Zaheer Khan's luckiest part of the ground. While batting at the Members End, he got his first reprieve when Martin didn't account for the wind and ended up dropping an overhead catch which he initially seemed to have judged properly. Then Zaheer slashed while batting at the City End and the ball soared towards third man. Daniel Flynn was late to run in and could not reach a regulation chance. Zaheer finished unbeaten on 51.
Four for all
When Munaf Patel went down on his knee, and swept Daniel Vettori with one hand to the square-leg boundary to get off the mark, he became the eighth Indian batsman in the innings to start scoring with a boundary. Tendulkar Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman started with one, two and two respectively.
Do your job, watchman
In the last over of the day, Kyle Mills, the nightwatchman survived a close lbw shout, saved by the inside edge, and wanted a single to fine leg. But Daniel Flynn, the specialist batsman, reminded Mills of his job - to shield the batsmen - and refused the single. The next four balls were hell for Mills as he survived another close lbw thanks to another inside edge. But finally on the last ball, Munaf managed to hit the pad before the bat and got his man. Mills' job, theoretically, was done.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?