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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the third day of the first Test between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town
November 11, 2011
Drop of the day
When the Australians walked on to the ground on the third morning, they needed nine wickets for victory. They could not afford a mistake. So heads bowed and shoulders slumped when Shane Watson dropped Hashim Amla in the third over of the day. Ryan Harris found the edge of Amla's bat and Watson, moving to his left at first slip, spilled a catch that he certainly should have taken. The real damage was done on the second day, but Watson's mistake compounded Australia's problem significantly.
Desperation of the day
After that mistake, it was only natural that the Australians would be desperate to take any half-chance offered to them. Still, it was too optimistic of them to review a not-out lbw appeal when Harris struck Amla on the pad. Billy Doctrove denied their appeal and to the naked eye, the ball appeared to be sliding down leg. Hawk-Eye confirmed just that.
Shot of the day
Both Amla and Graeme Smith played some fine strokes but it was hard to go past an on-drive for four from Smith off Watson. Confident that Watson's pace would not threaten him, Smith walked down the pitch with almost Matthew Hayden-like disdain and flicked Watson smoothly wide of the man at mid-on. It was one of three boundaries in the over.
Maths of the day
With bizarre events dominating the Test, the third morning was an oasis of calm, save for one, uncanny occurrence. South Africa needed 111 runs to win at exactly 11:11 on the 11th day of the 11th month in 2011. The scoreboard read 11:11 11/11/11. Cricket South Africa asked all the fans in the crowd to stand on one leg for the duration of that minute and with the healthy Newlands crowd hopping about, umpire Ian Gould got into the spirit too.
Wait of the day
Nathan Lyon appeared to be in the side for his batting after he did not bowl at all in the first innings and had to wait 38 overs before he was given a chance to turn his arm. With a slip and a short leg in place, and 84 runs needed for South Africa to win, Lyon started by tossing it up. He bowled a fine first over, a maiden, and even had half a chance against the settled Smith. With his third delivery, Lyon had Smith defending on the leg side and the ball landed just wide of the short leg fielder.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is South Africa correspondent of ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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