INDIA LEVEL TEST MATCH SERIES

December 29th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   No Comments »
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South Africa suffered one of their worst ever defeats at the hands of India in Durban on Wednesday. India made amends for the drubbing at Centurion with a sensational 87-run victory against South Africa in a low-scoring second cricket Test to level the three-match series 1-1.

VVS Luxman

VVS Luxman

India had set SA a target of 303, and the Indians put up a disciplined show to dismiss the hosts for 215 after the lunch break. This was their second win in a Test match in South Africa. The 123-run victory in the first Test at Johannesburg in 2006 was their first Test victory there. 

The Indians players jumped in joy and hugged each other after last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe was run out to bring about the moment of glory while coach Gary Kirsten and the other support staff stood up at the dressing room to applaud the players. 

This pitch was indeed bowler friendly and a batsman’s agony. S Sreesanth 3 for 45 runs, Zaheer Khan 3 for 53 runs and Harbhajan Singh  2 for70 runs did the job  for India while Ashwell Prince was the top scorer for the South Africans with an unbeaten 39. 

Both teams had an equal chance of winning the match when play began this morning with South Africa needing 192 runs and India needing the seven remaining wickets. 

With plenty of time at hand, South African batsmen adopted a cautious approach in the morning and were content in playing the waiting game against some disciplined Indian bowling. 

Resuming their chase at the overnight score of 111 for three, de Villiers and Jacques Kallis found the going tough. They could not take any liberty against the Indian attack and scored in one’s and two’s before Sreesanth broke the dangerous-looking 41-run fourth-wicket stand. 

Sreesanth came up with a beauty of a delivery that bounced on to Kallis from good length spot and Kallis had no option but to fend at it and in the process gloved it to Sehwag at gully.  Kallis had made 17 runs and hit two boundaries in the process. 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a perfect plan in rotating the bowling between two pacers and one spinner and his tactic bore fruit as Harbhajan inflicted the second big blow of the morning to South Africa by dismissing De Villiers for 33 runs out lbw even though TV replays showed the South African was unlucky. 

Harbhajan tossed one up on off turned towards middle and  struck de Villiers on the knee. Umpire Asad Rauf had no hesitation in raising the finger but replays later showed the ball was probably going above the stumps. 

Zaheer got the wicket of Boucher with a delivery that seemed to be angling away from the off-stump but umpire Steve Davis thought otherwise and adjudged him lbw. 

Zaheer then took India closer towards victory dismissing Dale Steyn for 10 runs caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip after he went for a flashing drive only to get an outside edge. 

Zaheer broke the 27-run partnership of Prince and Harris immediately after the lunch break by bowling Harris with a delivery which cut in to clip the bails. 

Morne Morkel, who came in after Harris’ dismissal, went for his strokes to ease the pressure and South Africa crossed the 200 mark to give some anxious moments to the Indians. 

But Ishant came to his team’s rescue by evicting Morkel 20 runs and bring India within sniffing distance of victory. 

Last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe did not survive long as he was run out, thanks to some smart fielding by Cheteswar Pujara at short leg. 

VVS Laxman got Man of the Match for his brilliant inning of 96 runs in the 2nd inning. 

The two teams will now meet in Cape Town for the third and final Test starting on Sunday. The outcome of that match would decide the Test match series.

Ravi Matah.

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