South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Centurion, 1st day December 15, 2011

Irresponsible Dilshan lets the side down

ESPNCricinfo presents plays of the day from day one at Centurion

Irresponsible act of the day
It usually does not take as much as a green pitch, a menacing bowling attack and a batsman under pressure to convince a cricketer that Test cricket is about playing mature, conscientious innings. But when all of those factors are at play, the need for sensible strokeplay is even more pressing. Not for Tillakaratne Dilshan. The Sri Lankan captain may as well have thrown his name away with his wicket because the shot he played to end his innings on six was a shocker. Dilshan said he would enjoy playing his shots on a fast, bouncy track but he seemed to want to get into it too soon. His first boundary was a crack through the covers and then he was tempted to go for a hoick over mid-on. Alas, he confused the Centurion of now with the one he played on during the IPL and top-edged to Vernon Philander.

Berating of the day
While Dilshan should have been more unhappy with himself after that, he simply walked off the field with little emotion but some of the other Sri Lankan batsmen showed more annoyance. Tharanga Paranavitana repeatedly scolded himself after playing and missing at a Philander delivery but it was former captain Mahela Jayawardene who was the most disappointed. After seeing off the initial assault, being beaten and surviving an appeal for caught behind, he looked set to score the 46 he needed to get 10,000 Test runs and many more. But when he drove a ball he could have left and was caught by Graeme Smith at first slip, he was furious. He slapped his bat against his leg, in what seemed a painful gesture of dissatisfaction.

DRS of the day
Vernon Philander has shown a liking for DRS - using it to claim the wicket of Shaun Marsh last month. In that match, the mad Test of Cape Town, he called for a review without consulting anyone else on the field and was proven right. This time, he did the same, for an appeal for caught behind against Thilan Samaraweera. Normal replays did not show any edge but Hot Spot revealed a tiny white mark that signaled the end of Samaraweera's innings. The very next ball, Philander stifled his appeal, again for caught behind, but Smith decided to review it, having now developed trust in Philander's instinct for when something is out. Again, he was correct. A smaller white smudge showed that the ball feathered Kaushal Silva's glove, giving Philander two in two. His next ball was anticipated to be the first DRS hat-trick but Thisara Perera turned it around to square leg to avoid creating a technological milestone.

Uber-casual shot of the day
South Africa had it pretty easy against the Sri Lankan attack and strolled to 72 without loss when Graeme Smith hit the ball down the ground as though it was rolling on a piece of silk. He timed it to perfection, sprinkled with touches of class and brought up his 30th Test half-century with it. Smith was the dominant partner in the stand between himself and Rudolph and led South Africa's reply with patience and composure.

Most sought-after cricketer of the day
Every year, on the first day of a Test match at Centurion, it's ladies' day. For R450 (US$60) a ticket, women get pampered with food, drink, massages and a special visit during the day. This time, it was the turn of young quick Marchant de Lange, who is only 21 has been known to call some of the older journalists, "Oom," (uncle). With close to 300 ladies to impress, de Lange had to turn on the charm, while trying to hide his blushes. His schoolboy looks left the ladies confused as to whether to pinch his cheeks or flutter their eyelids but we were assured a good time was had by all.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent