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Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Galle
Andrew Fernando in Galle
November 17, 2012
Brendon McCullum showed excellent judgement of when to hit out during his 68, but he might regret having incurred Rangana Herath's wrath when he thumped an overpitched ball from Herath back over the bowler's head for six. Herath produced the delivery of the day next ball, when he drifted one in from wide of the crease, pitched it on a length on middle and off, then got it to kick away from McCullum sharply, beating the batsman's prod and clipping the outside of off stump.
With Sri Lanka Cricket seemingly willing to do anything to save a few pennies, the team initially appeared to be supporting the board's budget pinching when they refused to take the second new ball as soon as it was due, having only one wicket left to take. After just 2.3 overs though, Mahela Jayawardene abandoned his avarice, and called for a shiny new Test match Kookaburra. Nuwan Kulasekara took only two deliveries with the new ball to knock Trent Boult over, and that is $900 SLC will never get back.
Suraj Randiv was the unluckiest bowler on day one, having got sharp turn and bounce for most of the day without the reward of a wicket. In Tillakaratne Dilshan's absence he is the best fielder on the team, but even his hands let him down today, when he juggled, then shelled a return chance from Tim Southee, diving to his left.
The loose stroke
The New Zealand batsmen were not guilty of being too aggressive on day one, except perhaps Ross Taylor, who was the only one to fall unnecessarily. Taylor had watched Nuwan Kulasekara swing the ball prodigiously in towards the right-hand batsmen all through the limited-overs matches, but opted to take on the movement anyway, after having faced only seven deliveries. The ball swung in, predictably, and collected the inside edge of his booming off drive - played away from his body - before taking off stump out of the ground.
Angelo Mathews didn't initially pick up the leading edge looping towards him off Tim Southee's bat, and hung back at backward point, perhaps expecting the ball to carry further than it did. He managed to complete the catch however, diving forward late, hands scraping along the turf to intercept the ball before it hit the ground.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri LankaFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?