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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the first day of the third Test in Dominica
April 23, 2012
Pad-up of the day
Ravi Rampaul has sat on the boundary's edge for two Test matches as Australia's openers David Warner and Ed Cowan have generally made a smooth start to their innings. However Rampaul is known for producing wickets with the new ball, and on his return to the team he did exactly that once more. Apart from one play and miss, Cowan looked sure enough against Kemar Roach in the first over but in the second he faced Rampaul, who has shown the capacity to swing the ball back into left-handers. Seemingly oblivious to this, Cowan let his second ball from Rampaul go as he had done the first, only this time to find it was fuller and straightening, hitting him in line and going on to strike the top of off stump. Tony Hill's finger was raised, and, unlike in Trinidad, Cowan chose not to refer the decision.
Strategy of the day
When the teams returned after lunch, Darren Sammy opened up with the tidy bowling of himself and Shane Shillingford. Given Australia's sound, if slow start, and the prospect of a long day in the field if more wickets were not collected, it seemed a conservative decision, leaving Rampaul and Roach to ruminate in the outfield. However Sammy's confidence in his and Shillingford's ability to frustrate David Warner and Shane Watson, two batsmen who like to keep the runs flowing, proved well-founded. They struggled to score at better than 1.5 runs per over after the break, and on 41 Watson fell to the leg trap, hooking to deep backward square.
Field setting of the day
Shillingford's bowling was again thrifty and crafty, making use of the turn on offer to him at Windsor Park. Supported by a raucous Dominican crowd, he went close to a wicket with plenty of deliveries before Warner gifted his by slapping a shortish ball to cover point. Michael Clarke soon came close to perishing too, when he turned an off break around the corner to land millimetres short of backward short leg's hands. However Sammy and Shillingford allowed a little of the pressure to lapse by sending mid on back to the fence for Clarke and Ricky Ponting, despite neither showing the inclination to loft down the ground. Instead, they were able to milk a few singles as tea approached, alleviating some of the hosts' stranglehold on the scoring.
Record of the day
When Ponting reached 23 with a single pulled to deep square leg from Shillingford, he became the second-highest run scorer in Tests, a position he is likely to occupy in perpetuity given that the man he passed, Rahul Dravid, is retired while the man ahead, Sachin Tendulkar, is a long way off in the distance. The moment arrived without much fanfare, and Ponting was unable to stretch his lead over Dravid by more than that one run - in Shillingford's next over he squeezed a catch to backward short leg as another off break fizzed and bounced on the Roseau pitch.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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