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Plays of the Day from the first day of the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Durban
Firdose Moonda at Kingsmead
December 26, 2011
Debut of the day
Fifteen minutes before the toss, the South African squad got into a huddle. At the centre was a face that has not been seen in national colours since the last time South Africa won a Test at Kingsmead in 2008, Shaun Pollock. The much-loved Pollock was not making a surprise comeback but was tasked with handing over a debut cap to the latest quick to be named in the starting XI - 21-year old Marchant de Lange.
Pollock gave a small speech, which every member of the squad listened to with intent and when he handed the cap over, the players did a collective jump and clapped hands for de Lange. Then, they stood for a while in what looked like a prayer before getting ready to take the field. This year has been particularly kind to bowlers playing Test cricket for the first time and de Lange was the latest to benefit from that, taking two wickets in his first spell.
Needlessness of the day
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene shared the highest stand of the morning - 37 runs - and looked to be settling well on a flattening pitch. Dilshan had taken a liking to Imran Tahir, who was brought on after just 70 minutes of play and in the legspinner's third over dispatched a full toss for four. The next over, Tahir presented him with another full toss down the leg side that Dilshan could have hit anywhere behind square. He chose to send straight to Morne Morkel at fine leg. It was almost as careless as the hoick he played to be dismissed for six in the first innings of the first Test in Centurion. This time, he added 41 more runs before doing it.
Dinesh Chandimal's careless reach to be dismissed in the dying minutes of the day comes a close second.
Milestone of the day
Sri Lanka's batsmen set the bar pretty low in Centurion after being bundled out for 180 and 150 in their two innings. On a much flatter deck, with few demons, they made better starts at Kingsmead. Although they still gave away their wickets on occasion, they appeared a slightly more composed unit. Thilan Samaraweera and Chandimal guided them through most of the post-lunch session and it was up to the rookie to take them into unchartered territory. His pull through the square leg, off a rare Jacques Kallis boundary ball, took the score to 184 for 5, and brought up Sri Lanka's highest total of the series so far.
Non-wicket of the day
Tahir bowled better from the Umgeni End, the breeze helping him with drift. He should have got Samaraweera out, shortly after he became the first Sri Lankan to score a half-century on this tour. Samaraweera lobbed the ball back to Tahir who took the catch one-handed and in deflated fashion - because the delivery was called a no-ball by Umpire Steve Davis. Replays showed that Tahir did have some part of his back foot behind the line and should have had another scalp to his name.
Decision of the day
With calls to end play early causing annoyance around the world, most recently Australia, umpires Davis and Richard Kettleborough can be lauded for their decision to keep going in a venue notorious for bad light, as should the teams. At the press conference, Sri Lanka coach Geoff Marsh said the teams agreed to "try to play for as long as possible" under lights.
Even as the new ball came, Dale Steyn bowled short and five o'clock arrived, the umpires made no gestures to indicate they were considering calling play off before the full 90 overs had been bowled. Thisara Perera ended the day with three balls to go after he was dismissed by de Lange.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the first day of the second Test between Australia and India in Brisbane