Pollock plunges India into trouble
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2001, 1:25 [IST]
Port Elizabeth: South African captain Shaun Pollock ripped into India's top order batting when he took three wickets in his opening spell on the second day of the second Test at St Georges Park on Saturday. At tea, India was 63 for four in reply to South Africa's first innings total of 362 and facing an uphill battle to avoid going 2-0 down in the three match series. South African opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs made 196 - the highest score in Tests at St Georges Park beating the 174 by Lance Klusener against England two seasons ago - while Indian fast bowler Javagal Srinath took six for 76. It always seemed likely to prove a competitive total on a well-grassed pitch but India was soon in dire trouble as Pollock claimed the wickets of Shiv Sunder Das, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in quick succession. Das was trapped lbw, Dravid bowled by a ball which cut back and Tendulkar was out tamely, pulling to mid-on leaving Pollock with astonishing figures of three for 13 off seven overs. India sent in wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta as a makeshift opening batsman and he survived the initial carnage before he played over a ball from Makhaya Ntini and was bowled for 13. Faced with a six-man cordon from first slip to point, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly twice edged Pollock dangerously close to fielders but he batted aggressively - hitting four fours in an over from Jacques Kallis - to be 37 not out at tea. Gibbs and Mark Boucher put on 80 in 72 minutes for the seventh wicket on Saturday morning before Gibbs fell four runs short of his second Test double century when he sliced a catch to backward point off Tendulkar, who was bowling his first over of the match. Gibbs, whose mammoth innings came in 442 minutes off 353 balls with 25 fours and a six, had dominated the first day, scoring 155 of the 237 for five made by South Africa after it was sent in. But Gibbs was outscored by Boucher, whose unbeaten 68 came off 70 balls with nine fours and a six, as he made a cautious start on Saturday. With the Indians setting defensive fields for him, including a sweeper on the cover boundary, Gibbs did not hit a boundary in the first hour while Boucher made 35 of the first 50 runs added by the pair. Boucher was dropped on 31 when he top-edged a sweep against Harbhajan Singh and Dravid, moving from slip to leg slip, put down a simple chance. With Gibbs opening up in the second hour with a flurry of boundaries, Tendulkar's introduction to the attack proved a masterstroke. With Tendulkar bowling seamers, Gibbs took his score to 196 when he pulled a short ball dangerously close to mid-on, earning two runs. He leant back to punch another short ball, pitched outside off-stump, but sliced a catch to Virender Sehwag.