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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fifth day of the second Test between South Africa and Australia at the Wanderers
November 21, 2011
Drop of the day
Australia needed nine to win and South Africa required two wickets when Pat Cummins drove fiercely back at the bowler Dale Steyn. It was struck with such force that the ball flew through Steyn's hands and away to the boundary, but under the circumstances, it was a huge moment. The world's best fast bowler had given the world's most promising teenage fast bowler a reprieve. Cummins won the game in the next over with another boundary.
Ball of the day
Steyn is known to get progressively better the longer he bowls and he started his second spell of the day with a delivery that should have got better reward. It was a good length ball that straightened on Michael Hussey, who was clueless in his attempt to play to the off side. Instead, the ball took the inside edge, missed the stumps and evaded Mark Boucher, who was diving to his right, to race away for four. Hussey was lucky not to be bowled, play on or be caught behind and even luckier that he was able to add four runs to the total.
Reception of the day
Ricky Ponting jogged on to the field to boos on Sunday, but the Johannesburg fans had changed their tune within 24 hours. As Ponting walked off the ground having been caught in the slips for 62, the handful of spectators at the Wanderers stood and cheered, and not just because his dismissal increased South Africa's chances of victory. Ponting's future is unclear, he may or may not play on in the Australian summer. Whatever the case, this was surely his final innings in South Africa, and his standing in the game was recognised.
Cuppa of the day
Rain is a defining feature of a Johannesburg summer but, unlike some of the coastal cities, chilly conditions have not been, until now. Under cloudy skies, the Wanderers time-travelled to Cape Town in the winter and was caught in an icy, wet grip, with the security guards the people who felt it worst. The men stood around the pitch, in the cold, but were saved by a true gentleman of the game. Morne Morkel brought out four cups of hot drink and did the rounds, handing each guard a little something to keep them warm. His good deed was picked up by the commentary team and social networks and he was widely lauded for his kindness to those who had to endure the morning's unpleasant conditions.
Voice of the day
The weather and the fact that it was the first working day of the week meant a disappointingly small crowd was in attendance for the final day of the series. At 10 am, the time play was due to start, there was not a single spectator but midway through the morning, some school children arrived and were delighted with the time they had to collect autographs. Once play began, the tour group organised by Merv Hughes had taken their seats and one of them had brought his voice along too. The only sound to be heard during the first hour of play was this Australian fan, cheering his team along. Cries of "Come on, Aussies," were interspersed with reminders of how many runs Australia needed to win.
Drought of the day
Australia knew the conditions would be difficult early on after a lengthy delay due to rain. The ball seamed about and runs were hard to come by, but even so their first boundary of the day took an unexpectedly long time to arrive. It wasn't until the 75th delivery of the day that the ball rolled across the rope for the first time, when Michael Hussey cut a loose ball from Jacques Kallis.
Review of the day
With Australia needing five runs to win, Graeme Smith surprisingly handed the ball to the legspinner Imran Tahir. He nearly struck with his third ball, when his googly struck Cummins on the pad. Ian Gould called not out, and Smith asked for a review. The crowd roared when they saw on the big screen the projection of the ball hitting the stumps, many missing the fact that "umpire's call" was the answer as to whether the ball had hit Cummins in line.
"As soon as it hit my pad, I thought it must be going down leg," Cummins said. "Then I went down the other end and Johnno's [Johnson] like, 'yeah, it hit you outside off'. I said, 'I thought so!' I was happy to see the orange light go on."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is ESNcricinfo's South African correspondentFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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