Plays of the Day September 22, 2007

Upstaging the Men at Work



Sreesanth's demonic expressions and wild celebrations were as dramatic as the dismissals © AFP

One ball four, next ball out
Virender Sehwag was hampered by a groin strain very early in the innings, but when he stood up and square-drove Mitchell Johnson for his first four, it seemed he might have shrugged off the discomfort of the injury. Next ball, though, a slash resulted in an edge, and Australia had nailed a significant breakthrough.

Carry on Yuvraj
After his stunning assault on England, Yuvraj Singh was forced to miss Thursday's match against South Africa due to tendonitis, but he demonstrated he was still in pretty good nick when he walked out to bat in the ninth over here. The second ball he faced, from Stuart Clark, was slightly short, and Yuvraj was on to it in a trice, swivelling and pulling it high over square leg to get off the mark in style, and serve a warning to the Australians.

Clark taken to the cleaners
In five matches before this one, Clark had gone at 5.3 runs per over, and taken 12 wickets. Today, though, he found his match in Yuvraj. The 14th over of the innings was Clark's last of the match, and Yuvraj made it a memorable over for the Indians - the first ball was carved over cover, and a misjudgment by Brad Haddin at the cover boundary turned what should have been a dismissal into a four. The next three balls all went for two, before Clark tried a slower ball, which Yuvraj picked from outside off and deposited over square leg for six to get to a 20-ball fifty. And when he tapped the last ball of the over for a one-bounce four over point, Clark had gone for 21 off the over - that's more than 20% of the runs he had conceded in all the previous games.

Sreesanth gets his act together
Sreesanth had struggled for direction against South Africa, but here his radar was spot on. In his second over - the fourth of the innings - he did everything other than actually taking a wicket, beating Matthew Hayden four times in six balls. Next over, Adam Gilchrist wasn't quite as lucky, driving from the crease and leaving a huge gap between bat and pad. The ball crashed through, and Sreesanth's demonic expressions and wild celebrations were as dramatic as the dismissal itself.

Hayden starts to roar
The start was hardly fluent for Hayden, but when Joginder Sharma was introduced into the attack, Hayden realised it was time to flex his muscles. Getting down on his knee, Hayden swung one so mightily that the ball soared over midwicket, and right out of the stadium. A replacement ball had to be quickly summoned.

Out or what?
Irfan Pathan pitched it short, Brad Hodge pulled, and Joginder took a sharp catch at short fine leg. It looked like a clear dismissal, but then Joginder did something quite unusual - he rifled the ball back to the wicketkeeper almost as soon as he caught it, prompting Hodge to put his bat back in the crease and turn towards the umpire quizzically, as if to ask "Was that a no-ball ump?" It wasn't, and Hodge had no option but to trudge back.

Aussie men at work
With Hayden and Andrew Symonds going strong, Australia were cruising at 129 for 2 after 14, and latching on to the mood, Funky B, the DJ, belted out Men at Work's Land Down Under. Instead of inspiring Australia, it jeed up Sreesanth, who bowled another ripper that crashed into Hayden's off stump.

Sorry, mate
Third ball of the 19th over: RP Singh goes for the yorker, the ball slips out of his hand, and heads straight towards Haddin's face. Haddin's gloves get in the way to prevent serious injury, and immediately there are apologies all around. Mahendra Singh Dhoni walks up to the batsman to say sorry, while Singh puts his hand up to acknowledge his mistake - even Michael Atherton would have been convinced that this was a genuine apology. Haddin certainly was.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo