Irony of the day
It's no secret that the sun sets early in Guwahati, one of the eastern-most cities in the country. Both captains spoke about the light yesterday, the match referee had his views, and the umpires chipped in too. Walking towards the Nehru Stadium, early enough to catch the 8 am toss, and you're greeted by four light towers, one draped with a poster of Sunny Deol, a Bollywood star. The grand irony is they're suitable only for football and other sports. No sunlight, no cricket.
Paddle of the day
Forty-sixth over, Mohammad Yousuf in fine nick, and Pakistan in need of quick runs. Irfan Pathan does his bit by keeping it full on middle and off but Yousuf, as if expecting just that, moves across the stumps and brings out a sweet paddle-sweep past short fine leg. Pathan isn't a spinner but, during this shot at least, was made to look like one.
Manic charge of the day
This was like a bull charging at a red rag. Sachin Tendulkar's spinning legbreaks were spinning big but Shahid Afridi decided to take him on anyway. It wasn't a charge straight down but a diagonal one, giving himself room, trying to butcher it inside-out. Once Tendulkar saw him coming he fired it in quicker outside off and Afridi stood no chance. Stumpings usually don't come easier.
Set-up of the day
Faster, faster, fastest, slow. That's the sequence that did Tendulkar in. After thunder-bolting his first eight deliveries, one of which rocketed off Tendulkar's leading edge to the third-man fence, Shoaib Akhtar slowed down the pace just a bit. Tendulkar, probably expecting yet another screamer, was too early on his flick and was trapped on the knee roll in front of the stumps. You could term it a slower ball but at 143 kph it was faster than what RP Singh and Umar Gul clocked through the day. One man's quicker one is another man's floater.
Double-edged sword of the day
The first two balls of Shoaib's fourth could have produced two wickets. Instead it ended in Shoaib kicking the ground in frustration. Gautam Gambhir poked away from his body, not once but twice, and nicked between Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan, at first slip. On the first occasion the gap was too large but even after the gap was bridged, Younis struggled to get his hands to the second chance. One slip but, two slips.
"Two Abdur Rahman's will play today. One in the field and one in the press-box." Veteran scorer Abdur Rahman, an offspinner in his time, kept reminding everyone that his namesake was playing for Pakistan. Rahman, who's been scoring in various centres across the country since 1964, claims to have watched 104 Tests and 106 ODIs. He turned slightly glum when Rehman was run-out for a duck and shared a good laugh when he was tonked around later in the day. "Bad day for Rehman the bowler but a good day for Rahman the scorer," he signed off after announcing his final spell.