New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Napier, 1st day

What are you doing here?

Sidharth Monga in Napier

March 26, 2009

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Ross Taylor eases one through the on side, New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Napier, 1st day, March 26, 2009
Ross Taylor spent nervous minutes on 99 © AFP
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Where's Dhoni?
It was surprising to see Virender Sehwag come out in a slightly loose blue blazer as the teams trained around him this morning. MS Dhoni had strained his back, and Sehwag was walking out for the toss. Daniel Vettori won it, talked to Mark Richardson about his line-up, and then walked away. Richardson then turned towards Sehwag and asked a legendary question. "What are you doing here, mate? You're not supposed to be here."

Greg Chappell is so lucky
After the "Haddin is a cheat" banners in Christchurch, there was some relief for the Aussies in Napier. Seen in the scant crowd was a beige t-shirt which showed a man bowling underarm. Its print read: "1981. Forgiven. Forgotten."

Munaf dives, the rest applaud
When Munaf Patel dived to his left to save a boundary off a drive from Ross Taylor, the applause from his team-mates lasted longer than usual. Harbhajan Singh, from cover, went right up to Munaf to slap his back, and VVS Laxman kept clapping until the bowler was ready to deliver the next ball. It was not an elegant dive, with Munaf landing gingerly on his left shoulder, but anything athletic from him is bound to evoke such a response.

Finally a bowl
Yuvraj Singh has replaced Sehwag as Dhoni's go-to partnership-breaker. As a result, Sehwag has often found himself being used only after Yuvraj has been tried. Today, he was in charge, and Sehwag brought himself on at the first opportunity.

The wide-brimmed hat is back
India broke with tradition by arriving at a Test venue half a day before the toss, but they appeared keen on reviving another one - the wide-brimmed hat. Usually only four to six players wear it but with the sun out, Gautam Gambhir made it seven Indians under wide-brimmed hats. The wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh were the only ones wearing caps.

Nervous 99
When Ross Taylor was on 99, Sehwag brought all the fielders in to save the single. Taylor almost pulled Zaheer Khan on to the stumps, edged the next ball short of slip, and fortunately for him that was the end of the over. In the next one, Jesse Ryder took a single off the first ball, and Taylor played out the next five edgily. He almost ran Ryder out off the next ball he faced by calling him for a single that wasn't there and then backtracking. Finally, and fittingly, the century came off a thick edge past gully.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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