Plays of the day March 8, 2009

Asad twitches, Hughes sways


Phillip Hughes just manages to avoid another snorter © Getty Images
 

Asad watch
Asad Rauf sometimes stands so still it's hard to tell if he's fallen asleep behind his dark sunglasses. Today he was clearly awake and kicking. Before lunch he couldn't find a convenient place for his hat - the top of his head was for some reason not suitable - and spent a little while holding it in his hand at square leg. Then he sat it towards the back of his head and with his thumbs in his front pockets struck his best cowboy pose, before getting a shoulder massage from the fourth umpire Ian Howell during the drinks break in the middle session. It's a strange old day when Billy Bowden is the least interesting umpire standing in the middle.

Chesty Hughes
South Africa have an appalling record at using their referrals during this series and the trend continued on day three in Durban. Morne Morkel banged in a short one when Phillip Hughes was on 24 and as there was a big appeal when the ball flew through to Mark Boucher. Bowden turned it down and Boucher, the acting captain in Graeme Smith's absence, asked for a referral. The replays showed the ball brushed Hughes' chest on the way through and was so far from the bat that it was impossible to see how Boucher could have thought it hit the bat. As the man in best position as well as the stand-in skipper, he had nobody but himself to blame for the lost referral.

Fan fun
Fanatical fans day at the Wanderers last weekend brought some inspired costumes as spectators competed for a trip to every Springbok-British Lions Test match during this year's series. There was a huge group of what must have been students dressed in sheep costumes, a Borat lookalike in mankini, and the eventual winners were a pair of men in full Native American gear. Quite what the connection was to a Test cricket match in Johannesburg was not clear but it was the effort that counted. Boy did the standards slip in Durban. The finalists included a pair of guys in cricket pads and helmets, and some people with big fans - get it? It wouldn't have happened in Johannesburg.

Two strikes, you're out
South Africa began the day seven wickets down and it took Peter Siddle only three balls to wrap up the innings. From the second ball of the day, Siddle drew an edge behind from Dale Steyn and next delivery Makhaya Ntini was trapped lbw for golden duck. With Smith in the pavilion with a fractured hand, the two strikes were enough to finish off South Africa, and it meant the rest of the Australian fast men had been warming up in the nets before play for nothing.

From one captain to another
With a trademark pull that flashed away through midwicket for four, Ricky Ponting passed Steve Waugh to become the second leading run scorer in Australia's Test history and the fourth of all time worldwide. Among Australians, only Allan Border now has more runs than Ponting's 10,948, which have come at 56.72.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo