Plays of the day February 27, 2009

Three from three but no hat-trick

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Makhaya Ntini celebrates wicket No. 50 against Australia, and at the Wanderers © Getty Images
 

Over and out
Adam Gilchrist's 24 off a Monty Panesar over at the WACA in 2006-07 is forever etched in the memory of those who were at the ground and fans at the Wanderers will have similar thoughts about Mitchell Johnson's mauling of Paul Harris. Johnson collected 26 off Harris' 18th and final over, including three slog-swept sixes to long-on and midwicket. The final one was so long it left the stadium - fittingly flying over the heads of a group of Australian fans - and the fourth umpire had to trot out to the middle with a box of replacement balls. It was the highest number of runs ever scored by Australia in a Test over and the equal third-highest of all time.

Three from three but no hat-trick
As Johnson sat at the non-striker's end on 96, he could do nothing but watch on in frustration as a maiden century slipped from his grasp. At first there was horror and then joy as the No. 10 Peter Siddle edged Morne Morkel to Jacques Kallis at second slip off a no-ball. But the next delivery was an action replay, except that Morkel didn't overstep. That brought the debutant No. 11 Ben Hilfenhaus to the crease and he had three balls to survive the over. First delivery: edged to third slip. Johnson was stranded short of a hundred and Morkel will start the second innings on a hat-trick.

Graphics drive Johnson batty
Players claim they don't care what is written or said about them but in many cases it's a bluff. Johnson has been taking plenty of notice of the pre-match television coverage to see if his name on the team list has a bat graphic as well as a ball icon next to it. "I like seeing the bat next to my name," Johnson said. "There was one game - I don't know if it was through the one-day series or not - the bat went missing and then it came back again. I keep a close eye on it. I let the boys know if there's a bat up there, just to keep them on their toes." After this innings, the answer should be clear.

Ben's redemption
Hilfenhaus' failure was quickly forgotten when he took the new ball for the second over of South Africa's innings and snapped up his first Test wicket with his second delivery. Hilfenhaus was picked because he is a swing specialist and the conditions were expected to suit him. That proved to be the case immediately when he shaped one away from Hashim Amla, who edged to second slip where Ricky Pontinng took a sharp catch low to the ground.

A pair of fifties
When Makhaya Ntini had Brad Haddin caught at mid-on, he became the fifth South African to take 50 Test wickets against Australia, and the second after Allan Donald to do it post-readmission. Coincidentally it was also his 50th Test breakthrough at the Wanderers and four more wickets will make him South Africa's most successful bowler at the venue. First on the list is Shaun Pollock with 53 wickets.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo