'Boom boom' goes bust

The unluckiest dismissal
By inducing an edge, Pakistan's bowlers nowadays enter a lottery. Kamran Akmal may catch it, he may not. Shoaib Akhtar started perfectly, put one in the channel, got Sourav Ganguly to commit to the shot, got his edge, celebrated prematurely, saw Akmal do that thing he does, turned and looked at Shoaib Malik, his captain, saying in effect: "I can't play this game, man." The wildchild of the old would have reacted a bit differently, one can be sure.

Sachin Tendulkar, though, could not see the irony as he was disgusted that he edged one to Akmal and was acrobatically caught. That's two in a row now for Tendulkar. He'll do well to stay away from casinos.

Wily old Dada
On a difficult wicket, Sourav Ganguly used his bag of tricks perfectly. The start he provided, along with Tendulkar, helped India put up the total they did. Making room, stepping out, he used every trick to unsettle Umar Gul. But the real trick came out when Sohail Tanvir had a big shout for lbw going against him. The ball was full and it was headed towards the stumps. It had hit the pad first, but Ganguly ran with his bat lifted to suggest he had hit the ball. The umpire obliged and gave it a run. Amid the fearlessness of youth, Ganguly showed that experience helps.

Boom boom too brief
Back to the haunt where he had scored his last century, Shahid Afridi was sent in to open again, chasing a big target on a tricky wicket. Sure enough the first ball he faced, he hit RP Singh back over his head for four. Three balls later, he crashed RP through the covers. A sense of guarded déjà vu took over, fielders ran hither and thither, conferences took place. And then - boom boom - anti-climax. Afridi swung mightily, Irfan Pathan swung gently, the ball kept low and crashed into the off stump.

Brilliance, by chance
This has to be the conglomeration of the worst 22 fieldsmen one can possibly assemble on a field. The London Bridges, the butterfingers, the Gateways, the mosquito nets, have all arrived. And although they have been putting up their wares for the last two games, they reached their absolute crescendo in RP's fourth over. When Salman Butt punched the first ball, Ganguly first dived over it at short cover, and Yuvraj Singh, at point, instead of diving tried to stop it with his foot, which lost all the gravitational pull and arrived late. Immediately, Ganguly was moved to mid-on.

The next ball RP bowled was full and driven straight to Murali Kartik at mid-off. Kartik went down in slow motion, the ball came at live speed and RP had given eight runs off two balls for no fault of his.

It was fitting that the only piece of brilliance turned into a run-out by chance and not by design. When Yuvraj Singh dived to save a sure boundary, Mohammad Yousuf had taken off for a run. Zaheer Khan, running to collect the throw [slow and loopy], missed it completely and somehow it hit the stumps.