South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 3rd day December 18, 2010

McLaren's new job, and the travails of Sreesanth

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the day of the second day of the Centurion Test between South Africa and India

The start
Ignominy is following Sreesanth around the current tour to South Africa. After starting yesterday with a wide, enduring jeers from the crowd when he misfielded and allegedly being verbally abused by a spectator, he must have thought things couldn't get worse. They did, but only slightly. He started the day with a no-ball, overstepping at least a foot. It set the tone for a wicket-less day in the scorching heat for the break-dancer.

The attempted denial
With AB de Villiers making mincemeat out of the Indian bowling and racing to his century, MS Dhoni's attempts to plug the runs made sense. What was unusual was when he opted to insert the stopper. de Villiers was on 99 and even though Dhoni has been gracious to batsmen in the past and let them take a single to mid-off or mid-on, he wasn't as generous to de Villiers. The entire field was brought in to stop the one. de Villiers ignored the threat, slog-swept Raina over long-on and brought up the fastest century by a South African in Test cricket.

The party pooper
Jacques Kallis' 200 was being celebrated in such vociferous fashion that umpire Ian Gould had to intervene to silence the crowd. After the man himself saluted the heavens, the dressing room and the crowd there was still a lot of whooping going on and the "Life is Life" song by Opus that Kallis has made his theme tune played almost to completion. Jaidev Unadkat was ready to bowl his next delivery but no-one else was interested. Gould had to intervene, and looked as though he was signalling a wide ball. Instead, he was asking for silence so the cricket could continue.

McLaren's new job
Tea time is work time for the South African twelfth man. Yesterday he had to entertain the ladies at the 'Maiden's Bowled Over" function and today he was one of the judges for Super Fan competition. McLaren joined commentator Jeremy Fredericks and a member of the sponsorship team from Castle Lager to decide who the two best-dressed supporters of the day were. The pair have each won a trip to India to watch South Africa at the World Cup.

The openers with a few lives
India's openers are both back in the hut after day three but could have been there a lot sooner if the South African fielders had held on to three chances. Virender Sehwag was put down by Hashim Amla at cover off Lonwabo Tsotsobe's bowling when he was on 34. It was a tough chance, coming off the meat of the bat, as Sehwag attempted a lofted drive. Amla dived to his right but only got a fingertip to it. The second drop was one that really should have been taken. Gautam Gambhir, on 43, fed a drive off Dale Steyn to Alviro Petersen at point. He juggled the ball a bit and put it down. Petersen then missed a far more difficult chance off Gambhir on 63, and both openers also survived run-out chances.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent