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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between Pakistan and England, in Dubai
George Dobell in Dubai
January 17, 2012
Surprise - or not - of the day
There was surprise from some when Mohammad Hafeez, a part-time offspinner, was thrown the ball in just the sixth over of the day, but there probably shouldn't have been. Hafeez has either opened the bowling or come on first change in four of the last five innings. Indeed, he took the new ball in the first innings of Pakistan's recent Test in Chittagong. He also has an excellent record against left-handers: they account for 17 of his 22 Test victims. So we really shouldn't have been surprised when, just three balls into his spell, Alastair Cook attempted to cut a ball that was too full and too straight for the stroke, and edged to the keeper. It was an example of excellent planning and execution from Pakistan.
Deflation of the day
It was the dismissal that summed up the day: tentative batting and fine bowling. Ian Bell, who averaged more than 100 in Test cricket last year, prodded half-forward to his first delivery, a doosra from Saeed Ajmal, only to see the ball hold its own line and take the edge of his bat. Suddenly all England's brave talk about the way they were going to play spin was betrayed. They looked as lacking in confidence as ever.
DRS boo-boo of the day
England went to great lengths to ensure they had the benefit of the DRS in their warm-up games with the hope of learning when to utilise it. It seems that more work is required. Both Eoin Morgan and Stuart Broad reviewed lbw decisions only to see that the ball would, pretty much, have hit the middle of middle stump. Still, the worst case of the day came when Umar Gul insisted to Misbah-ul-Haq that a declined lbw appeal against Graeme Swann be referred. The review showed the ball would have pitched every bit of a foot outside leg stump. It might just have been the worst review yet in international cricket.
Farewell of the day
It's not often that a spectator receives a standing ovation. Even more unusual is such an ovation for a spectator that isn't even present. But, midway through the afternoon session, the ground rose and applauded George 'Podgy' Summerside, a 53 year-old from Sunderland, who was found dead at the bottom of cliffs in South Tyneside last week. George, a retired firefighter, was a popular figure among the Barmy Army and was buried in Sunderland on Tuesday. Even Matt Prior, one of the England batsmen, joined in the applause, before Bill Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpeter, played the Last Post.
Reprieve of the day
England's final total may not be daunting, but it could have been much worse. Adnan Akmal dropped what looked, on Hot Spot, like a thin edge squeezed between bat and pad by Graeme Swann when the batsman had just eight. England would have been 104 for 8 had Swann been dismissed. As it was, Swann helped Matt Prior add another 47 runs and give England something of a foothold in the game.
Flat note of the day
Late in the day, security asked Bill Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpeter, to stop playing. Talk about biting the hand that feeds: without England supporters the crowd - maybe the 'sparse' would be a better word for it - might not even have reached three figures. To be fair, they eventually relented and allowed him to continue. Maybe one day the game's governors will reflect on the low attendances at Tests and think again about their treatment of spectators?
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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