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Philander spills and Rohit does a Jonty

S Rajesh in Durban

September 20, 2007

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Vernon Philander drops a dolly © Getty Images
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A clanger from Philander
With the Indians struggling to get a move on, Robin Uthappa decided he must take charge. Johan van der Wath pitched one short, Uthappa executed his favourite front-foot pull, and was so disheartened when the top-edge looped towards mid-on that he didn't even bother to run. Waiting under the ball, though, was the ever-generous Vernon Philander, who made an absolute hash of the catch. Uthappa survived, but not for long.

Sharma's smashing maiden fifty
Rohit Sharma started slowly, but then showed that he is more than capable of wielding the willow. With only one ball to go, he had worked his way up to 44. Then came the perfect finish: van der Wath bowled a high full toss, Rohit got under the ball and pulled it high and handsome over square leg for six. He ended exactly on 50, and the way he played, it's surely the first of many in his international career.

Done in the by the lights
Morne Morkel bowled with plenty of fire, but it wasn't quite as good for him in the field. In the 15th over, Mahendra Singh Dhoni completely miscued a pull and the ball sailed towards long-on, where Morne Morkel ran in, then lost the ball in the lights and realised he had run in too far. The ball dropped behind him but inside the boundary, and you could be sure that Albie, the unfortunate bowler, wouldn't have felt much brotherly love at that moment.

Perfect placement
Two balls after the Morne miss, Dhoni tempted fate again when an attempted flick lobbed up in the air just beside the pitch. Three fielders - the bowler, the wicketkeeper, and short square leg - all raced in, only for the ball to fall perfectly in between.

One for the classic catches series
Graeme Smith's eye would have lit up when he saw a wide and full delivery from RP Singh. He wouldn't have known, though, that the ball would fly off the edge, or that Dinesh Karthik, at second slip, would fling himself to his left, get to the ball with both hands, and bring off a stunning catch.

Jonty in Indian colours
Justin Kemp had beaten New Zealand almost single-handedly yesterday, but his knock here was nipped by a sensational piece of fielding. Stationed at cover, Rohit Sharma swooped in on a Mark Boucher drive, picked up the ball one-handed, was airborne and almost parallel to the ground as he flung the ball at the stumps. Direct hit, Kemp gone. Could the evening get any better for Rohit?

Bowled, or four?
Sreesanth bowled it full and slightly wide, Mark Boucher got an inside-edge, the ball raced to fine leg, and Sreesanth hung his head in despair. The reaction seemed justified, except that he hadn't seen the ball clipping the off bail on its way to the boundary. The expression of despair suddenly turned to glee as everyone realised what had happened. Boucher trudged back, and South Africa slipped further into the mire.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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