India's South African Safari - Laxman helps India avoid follow-on

Published: Sunday, November 18, 2001, 4:05 [IST]
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Port Elizabeth :Venkatsai Laxman led a fightback which enabled India to avoid following on against South Africa on the second day of the second Test at St Georges Park here on Saturday.India were 182 for eight in reply to South Africas first innings total of 362 when bad light stopped play 4.3 overs early.Laxman and Anil Kumble shared an unbeaten ninth wicket stand of 63 which started when their team were still 44 runs short of making South Africa bat again after South African captain Shaun Pollock had ripped into their batting.Opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs made 196 for South Africa 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 were 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. Pollock took three for 13 off seven overs in his opening spell.India sent in wicketkeeper 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 Sourav Ganguly twice edged Pollock dangerously close to fielders but he batted aggressively to make 42 off 46 balls. Ganguly hit four fours in an over from Jacques Kallis.Ganguly was hit in the groin by a lifting ball when Pollock returned to the attack after tea and was bowled two balls later.Laxman and Virender Sehwag played boldly and put on 42 for the sixth wicket.The innings threatened to fold in disarray after Sehwag was caught in the gully and was followed quickly by Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh.But the experienced Kumble provided the ideal support for Laxman, the hero of India's come-from-behind series win against Australia earlier this year.Laxman hit some punishing blows as he went to 77 not out off 102 balls with nine fours, while Kumble made an unbeaten 21.Pollock finished a day which ended under floodlights with four for 38.Gibbs and Mark Boucher put on 80 in 72 minutes for South Africas seventh wicket Saturday morning before Gibbs fell four runs short of his second Test double century. Gibbs sliced a catch to backward point off Tendulkar, who was bowling his first over of the match. Gibbs had dominated the first day, scoring 155 of the 237 for five made by South Africa after they were sent in.But Gibbs was outscored by Boucher as he made a cautious start 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, Tendulkars 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. Gibbs made 196 in 442 minutes off 353 balls with 25 fours and a six. It was the highest score in Tests at St Georges Park, beating the 174 by Lance Klusener against England two seasons ago.Boucher made 68 not out off 70 balls with nine fours and a six.

Copyright AFP 2001

Scorecard of Test 2 Day 2
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