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June 14, 2009
Intent of the day
Against Pakistan and South Africa, Dimitri Mascarenhas had taken the new ball for England, the rationale being that a bit of extra pace is a dangerous thing in this format - more speed with which to pierce the field, and all that sort of guff. However, with their tournament on the line, England dispensed with the pleasantries, and went back to what they do best. Three front-line seamers, including a foaming-mouthed Ryan Sidebottom, and gallons of aggressive intent. They bowled straight, they bowled short, they bowled fast. And India's batsmen weren't sure quite how to respond.
Deja-vu of the day
He didn't bowl the final over of the innings this time - that honour went to Sidebottom - but Stuart Broad suffered an ominous flashback to his disaster against the Netherlands when, in the midst of a similarly superb constraining over from around the wicket, he fluffed yet another run-out opportunity - and this one was arguably the worst yet. Yusuf Pathan had given up the ghost after he and MS Dhoni had found themselves at the same end of the pitch, but as the shy came in from mid-on, Broad's sweaty palms failed to cling on. The ball dribbled away to safety, the batsmen completed their two, and another anxious finish was confirmed.
Intent of the day Mk 2
The pace-based approach might have been designed with Yuvraj Singh in mind - for all the majesty of his strokeplay, the suspicion has long remained that he doesn't like it up 'im. By the time he eventually appeared at No. 5, however, England's quicks were taking a well-earned breather, and Mascarenhas's medium-pace was holding the fort. Given the hype surrounding Yuvraj's last Twenty20 appearance against England, what happened next might have been scripted. An elegant stride down the track, a flowing swish of the bat, and a massive six struck clean over long-on.
Dismissal of the day
James Foster's exceptional stumping to extract Yuvraj in his prime. India already needed close to two a ball, but Yuvraj alone was capable of maintaining that rate, having slugged his way to 17 from his first eight. But his ninth delivery, from Graeme Swann, proved terminal. Beaten in the flight, Yuvraj over-balanced for an instant, but that was all that Foster needed to showcase the skills that earned him his recall. The ball melted into his gloves and in one motion he broke the wicket and leapt into his team-mates' arms. The decision went to a replay, but good keepers know when they've got their man. It's ironic that the shortest form of the game has given that long-awaited lifeline to that most endangered of cricketing species, the specialist gloveman.
Pie-chucker of the day
The intent was plain for all to see. Yuvraj had bowled just one over in the tournament to date, but as soon as the Powerplays were done and dusted, Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed him the ball with one aim in mind - get under Kevin Pietersen's skin. The pair had some memorable run-ins during the tour of India before Christmas, after Yuvraj had the temerity to bowl Pietersen through the gate in a one-dayer, but this time the initial honours went to Pietersen. After Ravi Bopara had drawn the sting for five balls, the sixth was fired down the leg-side, and Pietersen pulled it with massive intent behind square for four.
Chucked pie of the day
Pietersen was looking seriously ominous as the innings entered its final third. Without even kicking into top gear he moved along to 46 from 26 balls with a monstrous six over midwicket off a Ravindra Jadeja full-toss. But then, one ball later, came the sucker punch. Of all the follow-up deliveries to choose, Jadeja could not have meant to serve up another full-bunger, but this one was a fraction straighter and reached Pietersen at ankle height. Down he went into position for the slog-sweep, but his bat found only thin air as India went up for the plumbest lbw imaginable.
Boundary of the day
Mascarenhas's lofted pull over midwicket off Ishant Sharma in the 16th over. Nothing especially remarkable about the stroke, except it was England's first four for 42 prime boundary-thwackable deliveries - between overs 8.5 and 15.4, Pietersen's six was the only shot to beat the field. Mascarenhas followed up with another four two balls later as Sharma strayed onto his pads, but having been promoted to No. 4 with the presumed intention of getting on with it, his unbeaten 25 from 26 deliveries was a strangely meandering performance
Extras of the day
Harbhajan Singh grabbed three wickets in his last two overs to kill any hope of English momentum, but he still provided them with easy runs nonetheless by spearing the sixth ball of each of those overs down the leg-side for wides. MS Dhoni, standing up to the stumps, had no chance of cutting them off, and so five precious extras were racked up on each occasion. The second blemish was the most damaging, however, as Yuvraj at short fine leg made a complete hash of a regulation tidying-up. The ball ricocheted off his shins and away to the rope, to allow England to sneak past the psychologically vital 150 milestone.
Match reviver of the day
Yusuf's astonishing one-handed driven six off a Sidebottom yorker. With 15 runs needed from three deliveries, India's fans had been streaming out of the ground when, all of a sudden, they came to an abrupt halt and turned to watch the action again. It was a remarkable stroke, and completely out of the blue after four runs had come from the first three balls, and with nine runs now needed from two, the game was suddenly alive. One more full-length ball from Sidebottom was all that was needed, however. A measured push down the ground, left them needing eight from one ball, and not even a hearty bludgeon over midwicket could rescue India's participation in the tournament.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala