Plays of the day August 1, 2008

Shots, drops, and spankings

Plays of the day for the second day of the Galle Test between Sri Lanka and India

Virender Sehwag batted fluently through his unbeaten innings © AFP

Shot of the morning
Virender Sehwag timed pretty much everything with a degree of fluency during his unbeaten 201, but his handling of Muttiah Muralitharan was exceptional. Murali was the one who tied down Sehwag the most, restricting him to 58 runs from 81 balls, but Sehwag never looked like getting out to him. When he faced Murali after crossing 150, Sehwag celebrated with an eye-catching inside-out drive. He took a few steps out, made room to leg, and creamed the ball through extra cover. No fuss for a fancy shot.

Drop of the day
While that shot oozed class, this one reeked of over-confidence. Batting on 156, with India's score 263 for 4, Sehwag swung Ajantha Mendis down to the long-leg boundary, with a six on his mind. However it wasn't a clean shot, and the top edge spiralled up in the air. Chamara Silva ran around, back-pedalled, and ended up tripping over the boundary line only to spill the catch.

Dot balls of the day
But Sehwag isn't always reckless. When on 199, he first refused a single to cover-point mid-way through a Murali over, not wanting to expose No. 11 Ishant Sharma. Then, of all the shots, he pulled out the reverse-sweep. It went straight to backward point and he didn't get any runs, but the manner of approach summed up his mindset all innings. Numbers aren't really top of his list.

Tame dismissal of the day
VVS Laxman appeared the surgeon to Sehwag's slaughterer, elegantly wristing the ball into the leg-side spaces. He was beginning to look at ease against Mendis but the picture of purity was snapped in a moment of miscalculation. Mendis dropped one short and all Laxman could do was lob it to midwicket. Not for the first time this series, Laxman stood and stared hard before moving away.

Icebreaker of the day
Malinda Warnapura has enjoyed his outing against India so far and after a century at the SSC, he began as if he had just gone in for tea on 200. Ishant Sharma pitched the first ball up and Warnapura square-drove it handsomely through point. It was a most confident shot to get off the mark.

Spanking of the day
Warnapura wasn't finished. In the seventh over of the Sri Lankan innings he thumped four consecutive fours off Zaheer Khan. First, a straight drive, between mid-on and the bowler, followed by a spanking cover drive - Warnapura onto the front foot in a flash - then an edge deliberately slashed over third slip, and a clip past the substitute Rohit Sharma at mid-on. Off trudged the bowler, while Warnapura smiled and punched gloves with the non-striker.

Missed chance of the day
Poor Dinesh Karthik. Nothing has gone his way all series. Blame it on his mental state after dropping two catches and playing the stupidest of slog-sweeps in Colombo, or an over-eagerness to impress. Karthik was the culprit again behind the stumps, fluffing a regulation stumping as India searched for wickets. Kumar Sangakkara had eased his way to 58 before he stepped out to Harbhajan Singh who saw him coming and changed the length. Ball sneaked past bat and pad, but Karthik muffed the chance shockingly, snapping at it like a crab. Step forward, Parthiv Patel?

Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo