South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Centurion, 3rd day December 17, 2011

Run out for 9999

ESPNCricinfo presents Plays of the Day from the third day of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Centurion

No. 11 shot of the day
Imran Tahir insisted that he had spent the off-season working on his batting but the sniggers he received every time he said it, suggested that no-one believed him. Here, he raced to a run-a-ball 24 with some of the most audacious shots in the match. In the third over of the morning, he showed off his improved skills yet again when he was presented with a low full toss by Dilhara Fernando. Without moving his feet an inch, Tahir cut through point with the timing of a No. 3. He only faced two more balls in the innings but showed the temperament required to bat for much longer. With Tahir seemingly in blistering form, Morne Morkel must be wondering if he will be demoted with bat as well.

Missed hat-trick of the day
Very little went Sri Lanka's way in the first ten overs, but things were not all rosy for Dale Steyn either. Steyn reviewed the first delivery of the innings, his hat-trick ball, which appeared to have trapped Paranavitana lbw. Height appeared to be the only question at first, but replays showed it was missing leg stump. Paranavitana benefitted from technology once more: in the next over, Vernon Philander trapped him in front and he was given out, but Hawk-Eye showed that the ball had pitched just outside leg.

Desperation of the day
Just as the dust was starting to settle and Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera were beginning to introduce some sort of calm, chaos returned. Jayawardene had pulled and driven Jacques Kallis for two fours in the over already, and was on the cusp of a milestone - 10,000 Test runs. So, when he prodded at a short ball, he was keen to get to the other side as fast as possible. Too keen. Thilan Samaraweera called, Jayawardene responded in the affirmative but the ball had spun and landed closer to the pitch than expected. Jayawardene kept going, despite the fact that the bowler, Kallis, had picked the ball up cleanly. A direct hit later Jayawardene was gone.

Bouncer of the day
Tahir waited patiently for his turn to bowl, probably knowing that he would struggle to be effective on the seamer-friendly surface. He conceded ten runs in his first over and in his second decided to try and imitate a quick, although probably not intentionally. His second ball was a bouncer, which took off the grass short of a length and surprised Kaushal Silva. It was called as 'one for the over", which sent the crowd into a fit of giggles and brought out that familiar look of disbelief on Tahir's face.

Relief of the day
Morne Morkel was having a torrid time, even though South Africa's bowlers were giving Sri Lanka a proper working over. Morkel bowled no-balls, overpitched on occasion and was a touch too short. His Test got better, though, as he managed to claim his first wicket of the match. After being spanked by Thilan Samaraweeera for four, Morkel got one at just the right length to cause doubt in the batsman's mind. The nick carried through to Mark Boucher who took a comfortable catch to send Sri Lanka's sixth batsmen back to the change-room.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent