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South Africa v India, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth

Short cuts: Forget cricket, see the wildlife

Dileep Premachandran at Port Elizabeth

November 29, 2006

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Makhaya Ntini's opening spell accounted for the Indian openers © Getty Images

Highlight of the day
Makhaya Ntini didn't really perform up to expectation in the opening two games, but on the home ground of the Fidentia Warriors franchise that he now represents, he was back to his menacing best. A couple of deliveries rose off a good length as if from a trampoline, and he had the wickets of Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer to show for an opening spell that effectively ended the game.

Shot of the day
Cricketers love to say that they never read what's in print, but perhaps Andrew Hall had a score or two to settle as he walloped a Sreesanth full toss in the final over of the South African innings. Tracing the trajectory of a home run, the ball arrowed through an open window and onto a desk in the press box. The Hindu's correspondent and India's media manager narrowly escaped grievous bodily harm.

Lowlight of the day
When India scored 22 for 0 off the first five overs, it appeared to be game on. But by the end of the 15th over, they had slumped to 38 for 3. What followed was a slow death, and like unrequited love, a one-sided one-day game is no fun at all.

Ball of the day
Sreesanth's 140 kmph yorker splayed Loots Bosman's stumps as India's bowlers gave the team the perfect start. What followed wasn't quite as eye-catching though.

Catch of the day
Bosman may be struggling for runs, but he's clearly an asset in the field. Today, it was Sehwag's turn to suffer, with a casual flick brilliantly taken on the dive at midwicket.

Message of the day
When asked by a TV channel what advice he would give to the Indian team, a senior journalist said: "Forget about cricket for a while. Head off to Kruger National Park, see some wildlife and come back refreshed for the final game." Sound advice too. If only there wasn't a pesky Pro20 game to get through first.

Seen and heard
As Neil Johnson walked in for another radio commentary stint with India sliding towards a fifth successive ODI defeat, someone quipped: "Get your pads on, Neil, and go out and bat for India." With the record that he had, he couldn't have done much worse than some of those who undid all the hard work the bowlers put in earlier in the day.

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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