Plays of the day October 8, 2007

Dangerous leaves and Inzamam's generosity



Cool as can be: Mohammad Asif bowled Hashim Amla for 10 © AFP

A deadly leave
By the 16th over of the Karachi Test, Pakistan had dumped their fast bowlers and proceeded to try four spinners. It was a different story in Lahore as, aided by a seaming pitch, Mohammad Asif strolled in for his ninth over of the day. The ball pitched at a good length but was wide enough of off-stump for Hashim Amla not to play at it. So he shouldered arms, letting the ball pass. Next thing he heard was the death rattle as the off-cutter shaped in sharply and left him shocked. Asif, meanwhile, celebrated as if it was nothing special.

Run, Inzi, run
Umar Gul steamed in for his second over after lunch and as Jacques Kallis loosely drove a wide but fast full-pitched delivery, Younis Khan dived forward at second slip only for the ball to fall short. The ball bounced off Younis' hand and raced towards the vacant third-man boundary only for someone from first slip to run down and stop it. Surprising many by the sprint, especially so soon after lunch, Inzamam-ul-Haq was keen to make his last Test a memorable one as the batsmen managed just two runs.

Inzi at it again
As Asif replaced an innocuous Gul in the post-lunch session, he finally managed to induce an outside edge off Ashwell Prince's bat after beating him on several occasions. The edge, left alone by the wicketkeeper when it was his for the taking, failed to carry to Inzamam at first slip and he could only palm it on to the helmets kept behind the stumps. Inzamam's first significant contribution to the Test: adding five runs to the score, but in the opposition's name.

A grand welcome
His eights wickets on debut brought Abdur Rehman in for a lot of praise from pundits and team-mates alike. He also managed to keep his place in the team for this match ahead of a third pace bowler. A confident start was what he was looking at when finally introduced in the 51st over of the day. Spinning the ball into Prince, he was driven to the boundary and spinning it away from Kallis he was driven over it as his first six balls yielded eleven runs. A subtle reminder that cricket is a great leveller.

Great shot ... that's out
The shadows had started to lengthen and Pakistan decided to take the new ball straight away for some late breakthroughs. As Asif once again caused the batsmen ample problems, Mark Boucher decided to break the shackles and drove him fiercely back down the ground. The straightest of hits whisked Asif's fingers on the way to hitting the stumps at the bowler's end as AB de Villiers suffered the unluckiest of dismissals after scoring a solid 45.

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo