Port Elizabeth: Deep Dasgupta and Rahul Dravid shared an unbeaten 119-run second wicket stand as India battled in search of a draw on the fifth and final day of the second Test against South Africa at St Georges Park on Tuesday.India, set to make an improbable 395 to win, was 119 for one at lunch. Dasgupta, one of six players controversially disciplined by match referee Mike Denness, was 47 not out and Dravid was on 55. The pair batted solidly but cautiously as they scored at barely two runs an over, with victory clearly not a realistic option. South Africa, which won the first Test in Bloemfontein by nine wickets, had high hopes of clinching the three-match series when play started under sunny skies despite a weather forecast that there was an 80 per cent chance of rain. But the South African bowlers were unable to make any impression on two determined batsmen with the pitch not offering the bowlers any unusual assistance. Because of time lost to rain and bad light earlier in the match, a minimum of 105 overs was available to the South African bowlers. Dravid, playing in his 50th Test, had made only 15 runs in his first three innings of the series, but he played a calm, solid innings more in keeping with a man who has a career Test batting average above 50. Dasgupta, 24, showed skill and impressive temperament. Playing in only his second Test, the Indian wicket-keeper was pushed into service as an emergency opening batsman. Dasgupta ducked into a bouncer from Jacques Kallis and was struck on the back of his batting helmet when he had 32. He came close to being lbw when he misjudged a full-pitched ball in the first over sent down by left-arm spinner Nicky Boje and was struck just outside the line of the stumps without playing a shot. That apart, he batted soundly but cautiously, adding only 25 runs to his overnight score of 22.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |