India wilt as Dravid drops dollies
With 207 catches to his credit, the highest in Test cricket by a non-wicketkeeper, Rahul Dravid could be said to possess the world's safest pair of hands. But that crown seems a misfit if you have seen Dravid putting down some easy catches in this series.
Plays of the Day from the second day of the third Test between England and India at Edgbaston:
Omen of the day
With 207 catches to his credit, the highest in Test cricket by a non-wicketkeeper, Rahul Dravid could be said to possess the world's safest pair of hands. But that crown seems a misfit if you have seen Dravid putting down some easy catches in this series. So far his drop count stands at five: at Lord's he gave Jonathan Trott two chances, even if MS Dhoni shared some blame for the second. At Trent Bridge, he made good ground to Ian Bell but the ball slipped out as he fell on his elbow. Today Bell was given another helping hand by Dravid. Sreesanth had bowled a nice away-seamer to get an edge, but the ball hit Dravid at the base of his wrists and popped out. The simplest chance was off Eoin Morgan's edge in the last over of the day. Dravid grabbed at the ball though and floored it, and immediately threw his cap down in disgust.
Act of the day
Sreesanth came up with a wonderful delivery that pitched and moved just that bit away from Kevin Pietersen's bat. He then charged, determined and assured, like a 4x100 metre relay runner who had won the gold medal with his right hand index finger raised high and upright towards MS Dhoni and the slips. Pietersen, bemused, walked away staring at Sreesanth. Simon Taufel, the Australian umpire, did not move. Dhoni asked for a review. Hot Spot could not locate any edge as the ball had brushed the pad on its way to Dhoni.
Non-performer of the day
Clearly that honour should go to Amit Mishra. Granted the legspinner was playing his first match of the series and hence could be given some leeway. But eight no-balls was going too far as Mishra kept sliding his landing foot in front of the popping crease. In fact, the only wicket he got on the day, bowling Strauss round his legs, should also have been called for an overstep, but Taufel, who had called him four times previously, missed the one that mattered. In his previous 11 Tests, Mishra had transgressed the line an incredible 61 times. By contrast, in their past 11 Tests, England as a team have bowled just 39.
Slow reaction of the day
Sachin Tendulkar's longevity is one of sport's modern miracles, but on a day as one-sided as this, he couldn't help but look every one of his 38 years. A sprightlier presence at midwicket would surely have curtailed Alastair Cook's innings on 165, when Ishant Sharma - returning for a new spell - found some rare aggression on a good length, and lured Cook into a looping leading edge. Tendulkar, however, barely even flinched as the ball plopped harmlessly to the turf two metres in front of him. He claimed he had been unsighted, but perhaps that was selectively so. After all, there's a time and a place for straining the hamstrings and flinging oneself headlong to the turf. At 405 for 3 in the 101st over, it's probably neither.
Clanger of the day
Four overs later, it was Eoin Morgan's turn for a reprieve, but this one was rather more straightforward. Quite what Sreesanth was doing at point is anyone's guess, but when Morgan climbed into a loose cut off Ishant, the ball slapped straight into his palms and out again. To add to the indignity, the batsman scampered a single as a boisterous crowd roared its approval, and Sreesanth was instantly banished to the boundary's edge to contemplate his sin. He didn't have long to think before the ball came his way again, however. Another cut, this time, from Cook, rolled gently into the deep, leading to a massive ironic cheer as Sreesanth this time gathered properly.