South Africa v India, 5th ODI, Centurion January 23, 2011

An effortless catch and some senseless running

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fifth ODI between South Africa and India, in Centurion

The casual difficult catch
Yuvraj Singh's USP has been making big hitting look easy, but every now and then he brings that quality to the field too. Morne van Wyk saw that happen when he hit a drive pretty hard to the left of the bowler, Yuvraj himself. Casually, Yuvraj stuck his left hand out, casually he caught it, and casually he walked towards his team-mates.

The rain effect
Something seemed to have happened during the rain break at the end of the 42nd over of South Africa's innings that affected judgement all around. First of all, the match officials chose not to take lunch during that interruption, which lasted close to an hour, and instead took another half-hour break between innings. Had it rained later in the day, washing out the match, the wastage of time wouldn't have looked good.

Then, South Africa played some crazy shots after coming back, and ran mindlessly between the wickets, losing six wickets for 19. Neither of the blunders cost much: The minimum 20 overs of play in India's innings were completed, making it a match; and South Africa's bowlers were good enough to defend their score.

The run-outs
Tailenders can have brain freezes at times, but two of them having one in the space of three deliveries is a bit much. It was Dale Steyn first, in the 46th over, who missed an attempted big hit and set off for a single to try to get Hashim Amla on strike. MS Dhoni collected the ball, thought of throwing down the stumps, then saw Steyn didn't seem interested in coming back, and decided to run towards the stumps. Steyn then showed some desperation to get back in, and Dhoni flicked underarm to run him out. Two balls later, Morne Morkel did the same, and was run out in similar fashion.

The catch … or was it?
Parthiv Patel looked the most comfortable Indian batsman in the middle, but when he went for a cover drive off Morkel, Faf du Plessis cut his innings short. It was a low catch and he also had to go appreciably to his left. He did that with the reverse cup, and thus had to twist his hands considerably to make sure they remained under the ball. They did so when the ball arrived, but on impact it threatened to pop out, and he somehow got two fingers under the ball. However, the replays suggested the ball might have touched the ground. Full marks on the effort, but you couldn't have been sure about that one.

The reversal
When Yusuf Pathan reverse-swept Robin Peterson powerfully over point, Simon Taufel signalled four runs, and was ready for the next ball. Morne van Wyk, the fielder at sweeper-cover, however, made sure he signalled to the umpire that it was indeed a six. Replays were called in, and the right decision was made.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo