West Indies v Australia, 5th ODI, St Lucia March 25, 2012

Andre Russell's stupendous save

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day for the fifth ODI between West Indies and Australia

The dribble
If Australia's former prime minister John Howard was watching this match, he could take comfort from a delivery sent down by Ben Hilfenhaus. Footage of Howard awkwardly rolling his arm over and thudding the ball into the ground a few inches from his feet has been a staple of Australian TV comedy shows for years. Now he knows it can even happen to professionals. Hilfenhaus appeared to be trying to send Adrian Barath a slower ball when he ran in and thumped the ball into the turf just in front of him. It bounced six or seven times and dribbled off the side of the pitch.

The collision
It was impossible not to think of the sickening crash between Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie in Kandy in 1999 when Matthew Wade raced back and collided with the fine-leg Hilfenhaus in an attempt to catch Carlton Baugh. Hilfenhaus steadied with one knee on the ground and took the catch, while Wade careened into him and copped a knee to the midriff. Wade immediately collapsed on the ground and appeared to be in serious pain, but after a few minutes he regained his composure and resumed his place behind the stumps.

The save
It is not uncommon these days for fielders to toss the ball back into play as they fall over the boundary, but even so Andre Russell's effort in this match was something to behold. Shane Watson slogged the ball to long-on and it seemed destined to clear the rope when Russell leapt high into the air and clasped the ball cleanly in one hand, then lobbed it back into play as his momentum carried him over the boundary. It was the height and athleticism that made Russell's effort stand out, and while he didn't take the catch, he turned a six into a two.

The promotion
Australia lost their third wicket less than two overs into the batting Powerplay and a surprise was in store as Watson sent Brett Lee to the crease as a pinch-hitter. Lee was fresh from a half-century in the previous game but it's rare that a pinch-hitting promotion truly works, and while he managed to score a couple of boundaries he was soon out for 12 from 10 balls, and normal service was resumed as Michael Hussey came to the crease.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on March 26, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    THE PLAY OF THE DAY was the review of the 'not out' lbw verdict against Andre Russell. That totally changed the game, had the benefit of the doubt being given to the batsman WI would have surely won!

  • delboy on March 26, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    One of the fundamental rules of the game of cricket is 'EYES on the ball'. Another is awareness and communication. While a ball driven towards you does no have the ability to say I'm coming. Two players chasing for the same ball have the ability to commit ownership and ensure his partner gets clear of his path with a loud scream of 'MINE'. This is sometimes not helped by the screaming spectators.

  • jmcilhinney on March 26, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Wow, three bad fielding collisions in such a short period of time lately. Thank goodness noone was seriously hurt because just about anything could happen in those circumstances. On these skied catches, the fielders are often starting from a reasonable distance from each other so, even if they do call, it may be hard to hear it properly in a noisy stadium, especially if they call at the same time.

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