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ESPNcricinfo picks out the plays of the day in the third T20 between South Africa and Australia in Centurion
March 14, 2014
Starc's chin music
In a tour that was billed as a battle of the bowlers, the batsmen would have known they were in line to get hurt. With extra bounce on offer in Centurion, pain was all but guaranteed. With the third delivery of the match, Mitchell Starc got one to rear up and seam away from Quinton de Kock and the youngster's heart my have skipped a beat. He would have had it in his throat three balls later when Starc dug it in short and the ball bounced to hit de Kock just below the chin. His grille jammed against the lower part of his face and his collarbone appeared to have taken the bulk of the impact. De Kock received treatment immediately and took a few minutes to get his breath back before batting on.
The mis-hit six
It's not often that AB de Villiers gets it wrong but even when he does, he manages to make it right anyway. De Villiers was two balls into his innings when Brad Hogg served up a half-tracker. The swipe over mid-wicket was not timed at all and, at first, it looked as though de Villiers had hit the ball straight up. He wore a pained expression even as he watched it sail over over the boundary for six and eventually offered a sheepish grin at his good fortune.
The triumphant return
Albie Morkel spent his comeback match doing nothing more than fielding and would have have been pleased to get some time in the middle in this one. With South Africa in trouble, he was quiet for six deliveries before Shane Watson presented him with an inviting length. Morkel cleared the front leg and swung hard, sending the ball over cow corner and many rows back into the stands to announce his big-hitting return.
Morkel managed only one more cracking shot before he was undone by a delivery that needs to become more frequent in this format. Starc's toe-cruncher was on target and Morkel could not keep it out. By the time he brought the bat down, middle and off stump had been disturbed.
It wasn't de Villiers' night with the bat and it wasn't his night in the field either. It was the fourth over of the chase and he was stationed at point when Aaron Finch hit the ball his way. Awkward bounce saw it slip past him and allow two runs. Later that same over, de Villiers was undone by bounce again. Cameron White's square drive went over his head as de Villiers' was on his haunches trying to stop it. When de Villiers looked to be fooled by the bounce off the next ball, his home ground could not help but jeer and de Villiers raised a hand in apology to them.
The perfect cover drive
Before play, Aaron Finch joked that he did not just stand and swing but there was some method to the madness. He proved it by playing the shot of the match. Finch played the perfect cover drive off Wayne Parnell after slamming a couple of short balls with disdain. He inched forward to a slightly fuller one and caressed it through the covers. The timing was exceptional and would have satisfied most purists.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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