Sri Lanka v India, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day July 18, 2010

Murali's last, Mithun's first

Plays of the day for the opening day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and India in Galle

One man's last cap, another man's first
Before the start of the match, Muttiah Muralitharan, playing a Test for one last time, was duly felicitated. School bands played marching tunes as the players and support staff from both teams came out to join Murali for a group photograph. A specially minted coin and other mementos were presented, Sachin Tendulkar hugged Murali (the last time in a while that we will see the highest run-getter and the highest wicket-taker in the world play together). Soon, without much fanfare, Abhimanyu Mithun ran in for his first act in Test cricket.

Choices have repercussions
There has been much talk about India's resistance to the Umpires' Decision Review System (UDRS) in this series. Not a long way into the first session of the series, they would have regretted their choice when Abhimanyu Mithun trapped Tillakaratne Dilshan on the pads, adjacent with the leg stump. All that was missing was Daryl Harper's approval. Surely this is not the last we will hear of UDRS? Not sure if India would have made the same choice had they known Harper would be one of the officials.

Captain knows best
When Mithun bowled a good first spell in Test cricket, 4-1-6-0, an eyebrow or two was raised when MS Dhoni removed him to introduce Harbhajan Singh. A profligate Ishant Sharma had conceded 26 in four overs until then. That, though, just proved to be a change of ends for Mithun. And with the first ball from the Fort End, Mithun got Dilshan's wicket.

Getting the field you want to bowl to
Pragyan Ojha, who began his Test with a gentle long hop, was soon reduced to bowling to a 7-2 leg-side field. It must not have sat well with the left-arm spinner's self-respect, for without wasting time he bowled short and wide, was cut away for four, and immediately got a more respectable 6-3 leg-side field.

A mid summer afternoon's dream
Your side is being battered by home batsmen in the heat and humidity. You bring on a part-time offspinner, give him a defensive field with three men deep on the on side. He bowls a long hop to the batting side'No. 3, who has completed a fluent century. The No. 3 pulls ferociously, but somehow, by some act of fate, the ball lands straight into deep midwicket's lap. And lo, Kumar Sangakkara is gone. Dreams do come true.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo