Rain, openers give India chance of draw

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2001, 2:03 [IST]
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Centurion: India's chances of salvaging a draw in the unofficial Test against South Africa were boosted by a solid opening stand and rain on the fourth day at Centurion Park here on Monday.India, who trailed by 334 runs on the first innings, was 118 for two when rain brought an early end to the days play. Rain had driven the players from the field earlier and only 11 overs were bowled between lunch and tea. During the tea break a heavy storm drenched the field and made further play impossible.

Shiv Sunder Das and Connor Williams put on 92 for the first wicket after South African captain Shaun Pollock declared at his team's overnight total of 566 for eight. Pollock was unbeaten on 113. In hazy, overcast conditions, South Africa's fast bowlers would have expected to make early inroads but the inexperienced opening pair batted soundly.

The left- handed Williams, who has not played in a Test match, made 42 before he was caught at second slip off Lance Klusener in the 31st over, immediately after hitting the shot of the morning, a handsome cover-drive for four. He then got a short ball, which he tried to force off the back foot, edging it to Jacques Kallis.

The South African bowlers were unable to get much life out of a pitch, which flattened out after the first day when India struggled after being sent in. Makhaya Ntini and Mornantau Hayward however, both managed to produce several good deliveries. Pollock took the only wicket of the afternoon when he bowled Das for 48.

Pollock switched to bowling off a short run and immediately deceived Das, who played a hurried shot and edged the ball into his stumps. Williams batted for 117 minutes and faced 82 balls, hitting seven fours, while Das batted for 173 minutes, faced 145 balls and also hit seven boundaries.

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