When Shane Watson stalks in from the slips to lean in and spit those words at Wahab Riaz, does he know? Does he have any bloody idea, what he is really doing to Wahab, and 90 minutes later, to himself?

Eighteen overs and an innings break later, it is Wahab with the white thing in his hands. Third ball, he rushes David Warner into an uppercut, which settles in the palms of third man Rahat Ali. Tenth ball, Michael Clarke arches his creaking back and fends the white thing to Sohaib Maqsood at short leg.

Tribut to Wahab Riaz – QF Pakistan vs Australia in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The first ball to Watson would have flattened the batsman’s grille. He dips beneath it with only a little discomfort, but for Wahab, ducking is tantamount to submission. He gets in Watson’s face, claps him sarcastically. The next ball is 150kph, Watson dare not play.

All through the match, the cricket had not failed to be interesting. This spell is transcendental. Of the tens of thousands in the ground, there is only one protagonist, and one victim, but the cricket so good, all are drawn in. Wahab’s anger is felt as keenly as Watson’s timidity. So bent is Wahab on embarrassing Watson, he taunts him after every ball.

In one over, he does it so many times, it’s as if Wahab rides a conveyor belt from the bowling crease into Watson’s personal space. In the crowd, nothing of their exchange is heard, but its details are intimately understood. The Adelaide Oval playing surface covers acres of land. The stands themselves are vast and high. But in those moments, it’s as if the whole stadium exists in the burning space between these two men.

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