January 7th, 2011 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   Comments Off on INDIA DRAW SERIES
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India scored 166 runs for 3 wickets on the fifth and final day of the third test and saved the series. The three test series ended in a 1-1 draw. The Indian bowlers failed on the fourth day to capitalise on the advantage which India had and on the fifth day Indian batsmen ensured that they were able to draw the series for the first time in South Africa. Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir were the walls between South Africa and a series win at home.

India were playing for a draw all along and did not try to win this test Match because Dhoni and company knew that getting 340 runs on day five was a difficult ball game,   if not impossible. On the other hand South African bowlers particularly Steyn and Morkel could not dent the Indian batting much and SA managed to get only 3 wickets.

It made sense for Gambhir to try and face Steyn, while Sehwag countered Morkel. Steyn’s swing into the left-hander’s pads made it easier for Gambhir to face him. Sehwag, however, struggled against Morkel, getting hustled by deliveries that homed in at his body and beaten by others that straightened.

Sehwag hit Tsotsobe towards point and the shot, after being dropped by Duminy, reached the fence.  In the next over Sehwag hung his bat out and edged Morkel to Boucher. Umpire Ian Gould consulted the third umpire and Sehwag’s dismal tour was over; 144 runs in six innings was all he got.

The pressure eased when Tsotsobe and Harris were operating. Gambhir and Dravid blocked. India passed 50 when Gambhir jumped down the pitch and drove Harris to the cover boundary, but runs were of little consequence.

On either side of the lunch break, Smith brought himself on to bowl offbreaks and a couple spun sharply. He changed his bowlers frequently but for the majority of the second session Gambhir and Dravid were untroubled and they collected easy runs. Gambhir cut Steyn through point twice and reached a valuable half-century. Dravid simply used up deliveries and scored when he could, scoring three soft fours in a Smith over.

In the 44th over, just when the Test seemed to be entering a phase of defensive torpor, Harris began to make things happen off the pitch. He ripped and bounced one sharply across Dravid and later in the over struck him low on the back foot in front of middle stump. The ball hit pad before bat but Gould said not out. Dravid  edged Tsotsobe off the front foot to the slip enclosure.

Gambhir was dismisssed thereafter when the edge from his bat went to de Villiers at point but he could not hold on to the catch.

The opportunity to dismiss Gambhir, on 62 off 146 balls, came soon after, when a leading edge flew quickly to de Villiers at silly point. He grabbed repeatedly at the sharp chance but spilled the ball and Harris held his head. Gambhir was out soon later. Tendulkar remained unbeaten walking off Newlands with the series shared.

VVS Laxman too couldn’t be budged, after Gambhir had gloved Steyn’s short ball down the leg side for 64.

Steyn and Morkel’s spells after tea with the second new ball were inconsequential and fruitless.

The only highlight of this match worth  mentioning was Tendulkar’s 51st century which enthralled the spectators in the stadium and millions of fans all over the world and not to forget a century in each innings by Jacques Kallis. He played like a rock and deprived India a possible victory in this match.

Ravi Matah.

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