Plays of the day July 31, 2008

Prasanna makes amends, Dravid walks

Prasanna Jayawardene dropped Gautam Gambhir early in India's innings, but he was not so generous to Sourav Ganguly © AFP

Whose catch is it anyway?
India had just 30 on the board when Gautam Gambhir edged a drive off Nuwan Kulasekara. The ball was heading straight to Kumar Sangakkara at first slip when Prasanna Jayawardene dived across to try and take it. Not only did he fail to get his gloves to the ball, he also appeared to put off Sangakkara, who couldn't hold on to the chance. Gambhir went on to add a further 43, and India another 137 before they lost their first wicket.

No backward step
Few batsmen had the confidence to take on Ajantha Mendis in Colombo, but Virender Sehwag has no respect for reputations. The ninth ball that Mendis bowled today was an off break, and Sehwag stepped out of his crease to swung it a long way over midwicket. Gears changed, he then raced to an 87-ball century.

Playing yourself in. What's that?
After being off the ground for more than four hours, some batsmen would have opted to ease themselves back into some sort of rhythm. Not Sehwag. When Chaminda Vaas dropped one in his hitting zone outside off stump, he clubbed it a huge distance over midwicket for six. Three balls later, a booming drive down the ground took him to his 15th Test hundred.

Full stretch
Sourav Ganguly opened the face of his bat to a delivery from Vaas which seamed away from him. The ball took the outside edge and Prasanna Jayawardene dived full length to his left to take a one-handed catch to make up for his error in the Gambhir drop. It was Sri Lanka's fourth wicket in 20 balls and the 151-run first session was just a bad memory.

Taking a walk
Law 32 - 3(e) states that a batsman is out if "a fielder catches the ball after it has touched an umpire, another fielder or the other batsman. However, it is not a fair catch if the ball has touched a protective helmet worn by a fielder, although the ball remains in play." When Rahul Dravid inside-edged one to forward short leg, he perhaps didn't see that Malinda Warnapura had held on to the chance only after he had first deflected the ball on to his helmet. The umpire wasn't required to make a decision either, because Dravid, who had just passed Sunil Gavaskar in the all-time runs table, walked.

Ban Aacism
These days, it's obligatory for the giant screens at stadium to display warnings asking spectators to refrain from what Matthew Hayden memorably called racial vilification. In Galle, the intent was certainly there, but a few in the crowd might have been mystified to learn that they were being asked not to indulge in "Aacist chanting."

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo