Sri Lanka v India, 4th ODI, Colombo July 31, 2012

Rohit's agony and India's strange stat

Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo

Rohit's moment of agony
Rohit Sharma was under pressure with scores of 5, 0 and 0 in the series, and he batted like a man under pressure. He took ten deliveries to get off the mark and fell leg-before off his 14th. The moment he was struck on the pad, he waited, dreading that the umpire's finger would go up, hoping that it wouldn't. When it did, Rohit stood still at the crease, contemplating another failure, before he started to trudge off in disappointment, only to be stopped by the square-leg umpire, who asked him to wait till they checked whether it was a no-ball. Rohit stopped, hoping again, only to be dealt a second, final blow when he was informed it was a legal delivery.

The stat
Legspinner dropped to replace long-benched batsman who could have replaced repeatedly struggling batsman. How would India deal with playing only four bowlers after choosing to play both Rohit and Manoj Tiwary? By over-bowling their part-timers, and over-bowling them successfully. At one stage, R Ashwin, the specialist offspinner, Tiwary, the part-time legspinner, and Sehwag, the part-time offspinner, had remarkably similar figures: 7-0-31-0, 7-1-31-1, and 7-1-31-2.

The catch
Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, hasn't played a game this series, but he probably dropped the third ODI when, as a substitute, he put down Man-of-the-Match Suresh Raina at extra cover at a tight moment during India's chase. Today, Virender Sehwag, who came out crashing boundaries, got a leading edge towards short cover, where Senanayake was fielding. This one was much a tougher chance, but Senanayake dived, completed it and turned around to face the dressing room with arms aloft.

The fortunate five
Suresh Raina could have been dismissed several times early in his innings. During one such instance, he was almost at Virat Kohli's end but escaped being run out. He was dropped on 19 by Senanayake in the third game, today he was put down on the same score by Mahela Jayawardene. In the next over, the 34th, he pushed one to the off side and set off for a risky single. Had the throw hit, Raina would have been out by some distance. As it turned out, not only did he survive, he also got four extra runs as the throw missed the stumps and sped to the deep midwicket boundary.

The stroke
Towards the end of the game, Kohli toyed with the Sri Lanka bowling, cracking eight boundaries off his final 16 legal deliveries. One of those shots showed what kind of form he is in at the moment: Lasith Malinga slung in a very full delivery, right onto the stumps. It was not quite a yorker, but Kohli's response was as though he had spotted a harmless full toss. He opened up slightly, got his feet out of the way to make room for the bat swing, and timed the ball to the square-leg boundary.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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