South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 2nd day

A memorable celebration, a forgettable drop

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second day of the second Test between South Africa and Australia, at the Wanderers

Brydon Coverdale and Firdose Moonda at the Wanderers

November 18, 2011

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Imran Tahir celebrates his second Test wicket, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 2nd day, November 18, 2011
Imran Tahir went on a victory lap after dismissing Peter Siddle © AFP
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Fielder of the day
Imran Tahir has entered international cricket as the proverbial No. 11 - in the side to bowl and not do much else. He has been putting in extra effort to improve in the other two disciplines of the game and although his batting could do with some work, his fielding appears to have lifted a notch. Tahir's first touch of the ball on the second day came in the 17th over, when Philip Hughes threaded the ball through midwicket. It was timed well enough to get four, but Tahir chased it down and hauled it in, albeit in awkward fashion. Interestingly, he picked the ball up with a legspinner's grip before throwing it in.

Later in the day, when Shane Watson pulled a short ball to deep square leg, Tahir was the fielder who had to make some ground to his right and dive to take the catch. He judged it well and pouched it comfortably and it seemed the person he surprised most was himself.

Spill of the day
With Vernon Philander off the field due to a hamstring problem, youngster Dale Deeb was performing the substitute duties. Deeb is a South Africa Under-19 player and has played for the Lions franchise but this was no doubt the biggest stage he has ever featured on. Deeb was fielding in the covers when Australia's last batsmen, Nathan Lyon, lobbed the ball his way. It was a simple catch but the occasion appeared to overwhelm him as he juggled the ball twice and then let it fall to the ground. The noisy, Wanderers crowd drew blushes from Deeb but his mistake did not prove too costly as Lyon was out four balls later. Deeb's mistake denied Steyn his fifth wicket and the chance to move one step closer to equalling Dennis Lillee's record of being the fastest bowler to take 250 Test wickets.

Missed opportunity of the day
The Newlands Test match highlighted the impressive use of the DRS but South Africa were not able to keep up their good form with technology in this match. The second opportunity for a review came off the bowling of Jacques Kallis, for a caught-behind appeal against Phillip Hughes. Kallis and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher both seemed certain there was a slender edge but when umpire Ian Gould turned them down, Graeme Smith decided not to ask for the review. Replays showed that Hughes had got an edge and would have been out for 38 if Smith had asked for a second opinion.

Celebration of the day
Tahir made his emphatic celebration famous at the World Cup but had not had the opportunity to show it off at home - until today. Tahir's maiden Test wicket was confirmed on review, so the fizz was taken out of his fun. But, when he bowled Peter Siddle with the perfect googly, he enjoyed every minute of it. Tahir stretched his arms out, arched his back and let out an almighty roar before grabbing his badge and taking off, racing from the end of his follow-through to short third man. The rest of the team followed him to complete the customary high-fives.

Milestone of the day
With an edge through the vacant second slip, Hughes became the fourth-youngest Australian batsman to score 1000 Test runs. And he is in fine company: the only men to have reached the milestone at a younger age were Don Bradman, Neil Harvey and Doug Walters. However, Hughes' place in that elite company is largely due to his being given so many opportunities at a young age. When Bradman reached the milestone he was averaging 99, Harvey 95 and Walters 66. By the time he had been dismissed today, Hughes was averaging 39.23.

Lucky runs of the day
Despite his sore hamstring, Shane Watson batted without any apparent discomfort. Had he wanted a runner he would not have been allowed; the ICC abolished runners from international cricket earlier this year. But during his innings, Watson benefited from the ICC's failure to eliminate another strange part of the game: leg-byes being allowed if the batsman takes evasive action. Morne Morkel dug a quick bouncer in and Watson ducked, the ball rocketing off his helmet and over the head of the wicketkeeper to the boundary. It was a fine delivery, and Morkel could consider himself unlucky.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is ESNcricinfo's South African correspondent

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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